By Shoshanah Marcus, News Editor
*This article has been updated to reflect an anonymous quote. The YU Observer has verified that the anonymous student is a current SCW student.
Beren Housing notified students planning on living in the Schottenstein Residence Hall via phone or email that the hall will not open for the Fall 2020 semester. Students were notified of this decision on Friday, October 16, only a few days before the scheduled campus reopening on October 21.
The email gave students planning on living in the Schottenstein Residence Hall three options on how to proceed. The first option involves each student gathering a group of classmates and being reassigned to a room in Brookdale Residence Hall. The second option is that Beren Housing will assign roommates for each student and they will be reassigned a room in Brookdale Residence Hall. The third option is that each student will be moved to a single room in 36th Street Residence Hall. Another option stated in the email suggested to students who were planning on living in the Schottenstein Residence Hall is to join a room in any residence hall with a vacancy as long as there is mutual agreement.
Some former residents commented on the last minute nature of the decision to not open the Schottenstein Residence Hall. Zippy Spanjer, SCW ‘21, shared with the YU Observer, “I’m not devastated that Schottenstein won’t be opening this semester, but I do wish Housing had let me know earlier than the week of move-in.”
However, some students praised Beren Housing for giving students some options as to how to proceed now that the Schottenstein Residence Hall will not be open for this semester. “The school closed the dorm just days before our move in so it was pretty surprising,” commented Ariella Halstuch, SCW ‘22. “Nevertheless, they did a great job with allowing us to quickly choose an alternative dorm and move with our friends. I think that they handled it very well.”
Many former residents feel disappointed that they will not be living in Schottenstein this semester. Eliana Felder, SCW ‘21, stated, “I’ve lived in Schottenstein for the last two years and I was disappointed to hear that they were not opening it for this semester. In a way that those who have lived there may understand, Schottenstein has become my safe space and home away from home, and now I will need to start anew in a fresh place. I do admit that housing was very kind in dealing with the closure, and they personally called me to give me my other dorming options and make sure that there was something else I was happy with. I’ll be living in IHP in 251 Lex and while I’m nervous for the change, I am also looking forward to something new.”
Other former residents found the communication with Beren Housing to be lacking, and some even opted to withdraw from housing as a result. “I’m a senior here at Stern (Class of 2021) and the school was unavailable for comment through the weeks of uncertainty after moving the move-in date. They weren’t able to answer phones or emails,” explained an anonymous student. “The only time I heard from [Beren Housing] was when Schottenstein was announced to be closed, and that was because they called me to tell me I needed alternate housing for the coming semester. My family and I lost confidence in the reopening because we were left hanging and without answers or even a channel to ask our questions. It’s unfair to expect students to make decisions so quickly without even the courtesy of responding to their questions. I have withdrawn from housing for the semester, which wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t ignored for so many weeks.”
Beren Housing shared with the YU Observer the following statement: “After a number of cancellations for housing for the fall semester, there was a significant drop in [the] number of residents in Schottenstein Residence Hall. Of the women who remained, only a handful had chosen it as their first choice preference for housing. We reached out to those women via phone call to discuss options to move them to other buildings, and then were in touch with the small number who remained to notify them that the decision had been made to close the residence hall this semester. Students were offered the opportunity to create a group to move to Brookdale together, allow us to find them roommates in Brookdale, or to be assigned to a single in 36th Street. We hope to reopen the Schottenstein Residence Hall for the spring semester.”