Barnard housing crisis

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A Barnard Housing Crisis is, unfortunately for Barnard students, a recurring event.

2012 Housing crisis

In 2012, Barnard's administration informed incoming residents of Plimpton Hall that, 'Surprise!', many of their single-occupancy rooms were going to be converted into double-occupancy rooms, so get ready to share.

The situation began on August 8, 2012, when Barnard Res Life sent out an email to future Plimpton single residents letting them know that they would have roommates.[1] As the summer went on, it became clear that Barnard did not have enough rooms for the number of students it had guaranteed housing (due to successive class size increases without commensurate expansion of facilities).

On August 10th, Barnard students returning from leave received an email telling them that they still hadn't been assigned housing, and that it wasn't guaranteed, anyways.[2] On August 15 and 16, 2012, Bwog successively learned that not only had Barnard guaranteed returning students housing in 2009, it had guaranteed them housing in the 2011 contracts, and then went ahead and removed those guarantees in the middle of the summer, while the contracts were still active[3][4].

Then people got mad and wrote angry comments, and Dean Hinkson wrote an email[5] and there were town halls[6], and unsurprisingly no changes.

Past Crises

Housing shortages have been a recurring theme for Barnard students. In Fall of 2004, students lucked out when the College resolved a shortage by leasing two floors in the newly built Manhattan School of Music residential tower on 122nd Street.[7] A few months later, however, transfer students living in Hewitt Hall were kicked out of there rooms to make space for 18 first-year students who were admitted for spring enrollment[8], and in Fall 2005, first-year students were forced to bunk in dormitory lounges at the beginning of the school year.[9] Matters didn't improve in the Spring when the Office of Residential Life and Housing converted a number of 5-room suites in Plimpton into 4-room suites by reserving the fifth rooms for "contingency" plans.[10] Thanks to Columbia and Barnard's unforgiving room selection process that forces students to pick a group size and pray that a suite of corresponding size remains available by their turn to pick, this meant that students who had registered as groups of five were suddenly dealing with a 27% reduction in the number of suites they would be able to fit into, effectively throwing 12 unsuspecting groups of students out into the cold of general housing selection (who might otherwise have formed groups of different sizes).


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