Living In Limbo

While the 50/50 apartment complex is technically on campus, its private ownership means that students there follow a different set of rules than in university-owned housing.

For Dayton Schumacher, the 50/50 apartments sounded like the perfect fit. With included utilities, full furnishings and a community of almost entirely fellow college students all for about $600 in rent a month, the sophomore chemistry major was sold.

But while the complex is located on campus across from University Suites on 17th and R streets, the 50/50 is not affiliated with University Housing.

“University Housing has nothing to do with the 50/50 in the sense that they are a privatised group,” said Keith Zaborowski, associate director of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Residence Life. “They are a total separate entity.”

The 50/50 property manager Jerry Shoecraft said the building is “a private student housing operation that privately leases the land from UNL and privately builds a $50 million student housing operation.”

Even though he is not living in University Housing, Schumacher still enjoys being able to walk back to his apartment between classes like he did when he lived in Abel Hall last year.

Most of the people who live in the 50/50 are students like himself. Shoecraft estimated roughly 90 percent of the complex’s inhabitants are UNL students and the other 10 percent are students from Southeast Community College, College of Hair Design or other young adults in need of an apartment.

But even though he’s still surrounded by his peers, the environment has changed in the apartments, he said.

The sense of community he enjoyed in Abel, hanging out in study rooms with other residents, is gone. He’s also had to adapt to making his own food instead of grabbing a bite to eat at the dining hall.

The apartment complex also doesn’t have to adhere to the same rules as the dorms.

“If you want to drink and stuff you can,” Schumacher said. “You can’t walk into a dorm with a case of Bud Light, at the 50s you can.”

Megan Ekstrom, a sophomore classics major, sits with her parents in front of the 50/50 apartments in Lincoln on September 15, 2015.

There is a clear difference in the set of standards when it comes to drinking between the apartment complex and dormitories. Security at the 50/50, which is privately contracted through Lincoln Guard Security, is more likely to react if a student is being unruly in public, rather than just looking for underage drinkers.

“We’re not there to tell someone they can't have fun, but we also want to make sure that they are being safe,” said Lincoln Guard Security President Janis Strautkalns.

"If you want to drink and stuff you can. You can’t walk into a dorm with a case of Bud Light, at the 50s you can."

- Dayton Schumacher

If a situation did ever arise in which someone’s life was in danger or safety is a factor, security would not hesitate to call the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Police Department.

So far this year, UNLPD has not had any reports from the 50/50 apartments, excluding one hit-and-run incident in the parking garage, UNLPD Captain Jerry Plessel said.

Plessel said 50/50 is much quieter now than when the apartment first opened in 2014.

By the numbers

"Originally, I think it was the first year, there were some issues,” Plessel said. “But if you look at residence halls and other places around the city, it's pretty common to have the calls that occur."

For Schumacher, the most beneficial part of living at the 50/50 is the freedom.

“Off campus has less rules and more independence,” Schumacher said. “You're forced to start adulting.”