After the recent outpour of objections raised by graduate students to Cornell’s decision to house undergraduates at the Hasbrouck Apartments complex, Cornell Campus Life has responded, taking steps to reach a compromise.
“I’d like to offer a personal apology,” said LeNorman Strong, assistant vice president of Student and Academic Services, in reference to the poorly handled logistics.
Hasbrouck residents were initially angered after the University failed to tell them that undergraduates would be moving into Hasbrouck. In response to the miscommunication, among other issues, the Hasbrouck Residential Council drafted a list of eight requests for Campus Life to respond to.
In essence, the council requested that Campus Life maintain Hasbrouck’s family-friendly environment, implement a screening process, work towards increased transparency and allow current post docs, visiting scholars and grad students to remain in their current apartments
“If the Hasbrouck Residential Council agrees that Campus Life’s [response] adequately addresses the eight items, it will issue positive statements about Campus Life’s response,” Council Member Blake Jacquot quoted from the document.
In response to the requests, Strong said that an official statement to the Hasbrouck Residential Council and the Cornell community would be issued later today.
“This will be a one-year pilot program involving up to thirty undergraduates in up to ten apartment units,” Strong explained. If successful, the program could increase to as many as 270 undergraduate students in up to 90 units. Originally, the University had planned upon relocating residents of apartment twenty-nine, the southernmost building across the road from North Campus’s tennis courts. But the plan has since been changed, so no current resident will be relocated.
Originally, the University had planned upon relocating residents of apartment twenty-nine, the southernmost building across the road from North Campus’s tennis courts. But the plan has since been changed, so no current resident will be relocated.
If the requests are met, Campus Life will work with the council to implement a screening process. The application process would be similar to that of the program houses.
“We could even work with the College of Human Ecology – especially human development majors,” Strong said, when asked about the prospective applicants he had in mind.
“We’re reasonable people, and we do understand the housing pressure for undergraduates, but we feel strongly about preserving family housing,” Jacquot said.
Initial concerns were that the University’s move was intended for increased revenue and would constitute a slippery slope.
In an email to the Council, an unknown person asked, “if Campus Life values extra revenue over maintaining a family-centered community now, what will prevent them in the future from replacing graduate student buildings with traditional undergraduates?”
“We’re not a group of money grubbing people,” Strong said, dismissing the claim.
Unbeknownst to many, Campus Life actually has a net monetary loss in the process. Hasbrouck apartment units are being renovated – a costly process – and fewer units will be available for visiting scholars.
“We are simply putting 30 undergrads from West into Hasbrouck – and they’re paying just as much as other undergrads,” said Frank Carollo, director of marketing and communications.
“Hasbrouck Group Responds to C.U.” (March 8), mentioned that there would be a two-year pilot program and after that, an increase to 270 undergraduates, which could become a permanent fixture. That is incorrect. The the pilot program will take place during the first year only
(2006-2007) and will involve up to 30 students in up to 10 units. If successful, it will be implemented during the second year with 270 students in 90 units. This will not be a permanent fixture.
“This may be a bold statement,” said Strong, “but I’m convinced that we’re going to have a successful project.”
Success would depend on improving dialogue between both parties; Strong acknowledged Campus Life’s initial faults in communicating with Hasbrouck’s residents.
“We blew it. I regret I let the community down,” he said.
The intention to inform the community of Campus Life’s plans was there but, ultimately, wasn’t put into action.
“I don’t pretend to offer any excuses,” Strong added.
Additionally, Strong praised the individuals actively involved in this effort.
“It’s reassuring that these people care about the development of the graduate student community and are active in the community governance process. Graduate housing is their priority and will be at the top of our priority list as well,” Strong said.
Pequot remains optimistic about the process.
“We hope to form a constructive relationship with Campus Life. We want to work towards amplifying the current positive aspects of Hasbrouck,” he said.
Archived article by Steven Xian