October 5, 2006

Hasbrouck May House Transfers

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When the Class of 1917 Hall is demolished next summer, the Transfer Center Program House might find a new home in Hasbrouck Apartments on North Campus.

Hasbrouck is one of several possibilities being considered by administrators and would be a temporary location, as the University is deciding what to do long term. Many feel the transfer center is a critical element in welcoming transfer students to Cornell.

Sources close to the situation cautioned that the plan is one of several, and nothing is decided as of now.

Last year, Hasbrouck residents — primarily graduate students — protested the University’s decision to bring undergraduates into the apartment complex located near North Campus. As part of a pilot program, about 30 undergraduate students were set to move into the complex this year, and the plans were to expand that number to 270 students next year.

There are currently about 200 students in the Transfer Center, though residents say there is a lengthy wait list of others who want to enter the program.

At a public forum yesterday, transfer student Nicholas Peone ’07 said that the proposal was “just a really bad idea … There’s little kids there.”

At that forum, a group of concerned students formed a “Save the Transfer Center” coalition, chaired by Angela Garozzo ’09 and Joe Duva.

Omar Gonzalez-Pagan ’07, who is not a transfer student but has been involved in several student residential committees, gave some background information on the current situation at the meeting.

Gonzalez-Pagan said that because West Campus Residential Initiative construction was ahead of schedule, the time frame for the Transfer Center decision had been moved forward, but Campus Life is looking for a solution.

“Next year you’re going to have a building,” he said.

He said he had spoken with Joseph Burke, director of residential programs for Campus Life, about the move. At that meeting, Gonzalez-Pagan said that Burke had said the Hasbrouck move was one possibility being considered but that there were others on the table.

Calls to Burke’s house yesterday evening were declined.

Gonzalez-Pagan also echoed the sentiments of many other transfer students when he said that one of the major problems right now was miscommunication.

In a letter to The Sun on Tuesday, Burke said that “Campus Life continues to be deeply committed to continuing our strong tradition of providing support, resources and programming for transfer students.”

“The students understand that the program isn’t being scrapped,” Gonzalez-Pagan said. “But the students also understand that the building is an essential part of the program.”

In a letter to The Sun from the Transfer Center Advisory Board responding to Burke’s letter, the board said that they were pleased possible new homes for the program were being considered, though they expressed dissapointment in clear lines of communication.

“Only after Mr. Burke’s letter was published in The Sun did any Transfer Center residents become aware of the proposal’s existence,” the Board wrote.

“The Transfer Center Advisory Board would be very eager to engage in any further discussions regarding said proposal as to truly maximize and include the viewpoint of Cornell transfer students.”

The board also wrote Burke “minimized the significance of the Transfer Center as a residence hall.”

“We would like to remind the Cornell community that in fact, the Transfer Center houses the majority of transfer students that live on campus, not the minority,” they wrote.

Full texts of the letters sent can be found at www.cornellsun.com.