The University’s proposal to convert Hughes Hall, a law school dormitory, into space for offices would make housing for graduate students limited on campus.

Michaela Brew / Sun Sports Photography Editor

The University’s proposal to convert Hughes Hall, a law school dormitory, into space for offices would make housing for graduate students limited on campus.

February 19, 2016

Prospective Master Plan to Guide On-Campus Housing for Next Decade

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This semester, the Division of Student and Campus Life will join real-estate and economic development consulting group U3 Advisors in drawing up a “master plan” to reassess on-campus housing for the next decade.

“Our goal is to get an objective assessment of our current housing situation and develop a roadmap to help us plan for the next ten years, a roadmap that is consistent with the University’s campus master plan,” said Marty Rauker, senior director of strategic initiatives for student and campus life.

Student-elected trustee Yamini Bhandari ’17 said that this housing evaluation is necessary because Cornell housing is “disorganized in its current state.”

“Between the shortage of on-campus housing, the increasingly high costs of apartments in Collegetown and the unstructured nature of finding off campus housing, there are a number of pressing concerns,” Bhandari said. “There are also concerns around the housing system creating social stratification amongst students.”

The entire process is expected to last nine months, according to the University. During this time, U3 will hold focus groups and conduct surveys to better understand the housing needs of the Cornell community.

“U3 advisors will guide us through the process, help us to be objective in our assessments, and help us conduct our research intentionally,” Rauker said. “They will also perform benchmarking with other schools, and help us think creatively about financial planning to make the housing master plan a reality.”

Bhandari cited the lack of change in campus housing as a reason for housing issues.

“I also think there are issues within the campus housing because some of the original plans for housing like West Campus have not been re-evaluated since their creation,” said Bhandari. “The changing social dynamic of Cornell is an important consideration for our campus.”

  • Jon

    Where is the fraternity and sorority representation on the committee? Greek houses are a critical part of the housing stock for Cornell.

    • a concerned parent

      Greeks shouldn’t be represented because they are potential competitors of Cornell for student housing.Perhaps the lack of non-Greek housing is something the University seeks to correct and their obligation to provide housing choices really does not implicate Greek representation on the committee. Presumably, the Greek system offers housing plus social and philanthropic outlets. Greeks have no more say in housing decisions than any other group. The availability of Greek housing should not diminish Cornell’s obligation to provide sufficient housing choice to all students.. If students are selecting the Greek system solely because of inadequate housing alternatives, then Cornell should do something. Greeks shouldn’t be worried, unless they feel that the lack of housing at Cornell is driving membership. If so, their presence on the committee is in fact detrimental. Their interests and the interests of Cornell are adverse, as they would be competitors in the housing market.
      The announcement of a close look at campus housing is certainly welcome to parents. It is ridiculous that students begin their housing search for the following year during the first several weeks of school. Cornell’s dorms and housing choices are grim.

      • Jon

        All housing options should be looked at holistically, inclusive of Greek options. Ignoring the residences of 20-25% of the student body results in a biased assume that of the actually situation.

  • Bill Fogle, Cornell ’70

    Needless to say, neither the IFC nor the AIFC was invited to participate in this planning process, and it is safe to say that Cornell Prof. Daniel R. Schwarz is pleased with this initiative. It was he who recently wrote, “… [I] believe Cornell and other universities and colleges should a) take the bold step of looking into alternatives; and/or b) use instances of fraternity misbehavior—and sorority misbehavior which occurs much less often–to permanently eliminate the offending houses one by one…”, 02 Dec 2015: “The Greek System: Should College Students Join Fraternities or Sororities?” by Daniel R. Schwarz.