August 29, 2013

Transfers Cramped in Converted Lounges at Cornell

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With the third largest group of freshmen in Cornell’s history arriving on campus, at least a dozen new students have found themselves placed in a cozy space: lounges converted into dorms housing five students each.

This fall, there were not enough rooms to house all students who requested on-campus housing, according to Carlos Gonzalez, assistant director of the Office of Residential and Event Services. As a result, some transfer students, exchange students and students whose leases had fallen through  and who later requested on-campus housing have been placed in dorm lounges.

Gonzalez said it is not unusual to convert lounges into dorms, adding that by spring semester, all of the affected students will be given new housing assignments.

“When we are over-capacity, there is no other alternative that we employ on-campus,”  Gonzalez said in an email. “Historically, students who are placed in lounges are typically late applicants or returning students in need of housing due to off-campus leases falling through.”

Until they receive more spacious rooms, however, some students said they have nothing to do but to lament their tight quarters.

Nicole Jeffrey ’15, an exchange student from New Zealand, said she received an email from the University notifying her that she had been assigned to a quintuplet in High Rise 5.

“They said that eventually within about two to three weeks, they want to put us into proper dorms … so we’re just the overflow,” Jeffrey said.

As a result, Jeffrey lives with four other girls in a High Rise 5 lounge on North Campus. In addition to having many roommates, being placed in a freshman dorm is a challenge, she said.

“I’m a second semester junior in a building full of freshmen, and I’ve already done my freshman year. I’d rather be in a building with people my own age,” she said.

One of Jeffrey’s four roommates, Aquillah White ’15 — a second semester junior returning from a leave of absence — agreed that their housing situation is a setback.

While “we all work together really well, it’s a little cramped and a little hot, and we can’t open [the door] for some sort of safety reasons, so I’m really hoping I can switch,” she said.

White said she was notified via email that she was unable to get a room on campus, so she spoke with her advising dean and was eventually told that there was a space on North Campus in a quintuplet.

All the floors of High Rise 5 had converted lounges on the first day, according to Shaniqua Johnson ’14, a residential advisor for the fifth floor of High Rise 5.

According to Gonzalez, the lounges are very spacious.

“Historically, there have even been situations where the students have been reluctant to move because they have enjoyed the accommodation so much,” he said.

Jeffrey, however, said she would rather be switched to a normal room on West Campus.

“A lot of the students that I’ve talked to that have been switched into normal housing is because they have kept hounding the housing office, saying ‘I haven’t asked to be in a quintuplet. I’d really like to be in a room that I asked for,’” Jeffrey said. “I might get onto that since I want to be in a room that I was hoping to be in.”

Original Author: Ashley Chu