March 13, 2006

Campus Life Responds to Requests

Print More

Cornell Campus Life issued a formal response to Hasbrouck Family Housing residents’ concerns that the admission of undergraduates to the apartment complex would threaten its graduate atmosphere. These feelings were exacerbated after Campus Life failed to inform Hasbrouck of the plan, leaving the residents to discover the planned changes through an ad placed in The Sun, offering apartments to undergraduate seniors. Hasbrouck residents, in reaction, drafted a list of eight requests for Campus Life to address.

Campus Life responded last Wednesday to the assertion that it had failed to notify Hasbrouck residents of its intentions.

“I want to personally express my regrets and to apologize for the manner in which you all learned about Campus Life staff work in the area of occupancy management and for the missteps by members of our team in the execution of efforts to accomplish our occupancy goals,” said LeNorman Strong, assistant vice president of student & academic services, in the official response to the Hasbrouck community. “I sincerely regret the emergence of the issues leading to your collective needs to prepare your ‘8 Requests’ document. You and your neighbors are very correct to hold us accountable for our failure to communicate effectively.”

The responses focused on two primary goals: clarification by Campus Life of its plans to integrate undergraduates and preservation of key features that distinguish Hasbrouck from complexes that allow undergraduates.

“We request that Campus Life express their support for maintaining Hasbrouck as a family-friendly environment,” wrote Blake Jacquot, grad student and member of the Hasbrouck Residential Council.

“Campus Life has fostered an overwhelmingly strong multicultural exchange in a racially and ethnically integrated, comfortable, welcoming and safe community here in Hasbrouck, and an effort which we greatly appreciate.”

Campus Life responded to preservation requests positively, asserting that it had no desire to change the family-friendly nature of Hasbrouck. However, Campus Life did not respond to assertions that Hasbrouck must remain free and open to post-docs and other scholars not currently enrolled at Cornell.

“In our role as stewards of Cornell housing, Campus Life’s top priority is to provide housing for currently enrolled students [no emphasis added], both graduate and undergraduate,” wrote Strong. “Because post-docs, visiting scholars and other visitors are not enrolled students, we cannot at this time commit to providing housing for them on other than a ‘space as available’ basis. Once enrolled students are properly accommodated, we can consider offering housing for post-docs and other visitors.”

In terms of clarification, Hasbrouck requested that Campus Life explain its intent in stating that Hasbrouck has a “30 percent vacancy” statistic and predict the number of undergraduates expected to sign leases.

Campus Life responded that the “30 percent vacancy” referred to the 30 percent of apartments either empty or taken by non-enrolled students that could be filled by undergraduates. Campus Life does not expect it will have to force post-docs and other scholars out of their homes as part of the undergraduate endeavor, it said.

“As a consequence of our commitment to providing housing for currently enrolled students, we do not anticipate that any graduate students would have to be ‘turned away’ from living in Hasbrouck unless there are absolutely no vacancies,” wrote Strong. “In cases where we are not able to accommodate post-docs or other visitors, we will clearly explain the reason(s) why their request for housing could not be fulfilled. We will suggest other Cornell options if available or refer them to housing resources in the community.”

Archived article by Tom Beckwith
Sun Staff Writer