College Says No Decision Yet on Priority Housing for Hanson Basement Residents
By Jamie Welch, Editor-in-Chief
Gettysburg College is denying a report that students displaced from Hanson Hall basement by the mold will receive priority lottery numbers in the sophomore housing lottery this year.
The report, released by Gettysburg News Network Friday, suggested that a decision had been made to offer those students affected by the mold priority housing, but Jamie Yates, Executive Director of Communications & Media Relations, is denying that claim.
“No decisions have been made,” she said in an email to The Gettysburgian.
Yates said that at this point the college is focused on remediating and cleaning the building to provide a safe and healthy environment for all residents, and that any housing process decision would be made later on.
“The Office of Residential & First-Year Programs will respond to all housing inquiries in the coming weeks and prior to the start of the 2018-19 housing selection process,” Yates said.
The only sources mentioned in GNN’s report were Yates and Associate Dean of College Life for Residential and First-Year Programs Keira Kant, the latter of whom declined to comment for that report. Multiple sources familiar with the matter said that while the possibility of priority housing for former Hanson basement residents has been discussed, no decision has been made, confirming Yates’ comment.
However, on Jan. 24, Kant sent an email to residents of the Hanson basement to summarize an in-person meeting that stated, “I explained that the residents of Hanson basement will have housing priority while participating in the housing process for sophomore year housing.”
Yates clarified Friday evening that the initial email was sent when the college believed only the basement was affected. Now that the entire building is affected, the calculus has changed.
“Priority housing was discussed initially when the basement was the only floor being remediated,” she said. “However, since the scope has changed, no final decisions have been made. This possibility is not off the table, but the college will re-evaluate given the expanded scope of the work.”
[Related Coverage: Mold Remediation Will Temporarily Displace Hanson Hall Residents]
Over winter break, the college detected moisture and mold above the ceiling in rooms in the Hanson Hall basement and decided to relocate all residents living on that floor. Last week, Kant said in an email to Hanson Hall residents that, while air quality tests suggested no cause for concern on the first, second, and third floors, a visual inspection indicated the presence of mold, and, as a precaution, the college decided to begin remediation work immediately.
Work will proceed one floor at a time beginning in the basement. After the basement is cleaned, first-floor residents will move to the basement while the first floor is cleaned; then, second-floor residents will move to the basement while that floor is cleaned, and, finally, third-floor residents will move to the basement while that floor is cleaned.
“Support will be provided to move your belongings, and we will work to minimize any disruption as much as possible,” Kant said in the email. “When your floor is scheduled to be cleaned, you will need to gather enough belongings for a period of up to two weeks. The bulk of your belongings can remain in the room. We will ask you to box any items on the floor or on horizontal surfaces. We will provide boxes for this purpose. The boxes can remain in the room. The professional team will cover all items left in the room. You will get more information about this as we get closer to the move, including a proposed checklist of what belongings you should be sure to take with you.”
Each floor will be professionally reassessed prior to student occupation.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 6:06 p.m. after The Gettysburgian learned of an email sent Jan. 24 in which Kant told basement residents they would receive priority housing. This story was updated again at 8:56 p.m. to add Yates’ comment that, because the scope of the project has changed, no final decision has been made. (-B. Pontz)
Managing News Editor Benjamin Pontz contributed to this report.