Hanson Basement Residents Get Priority Housing (Back)
By Benjamin Pontz, Managing News Editor
Less than two weeks after the college reversed course on its initial plan to give residents of the Hanson Hall basement displaced due to mold priority in the sophomore housing lottery, it reinstated that priority Thursday evening.
An email sent to Hanson basement residents from Vice President of College Life and Dean of Students Julie Ramsey attributes the decision to advocacy from students including those at Monday’s Student Senate meeting.
“The College has decided to honor its original commitment to basement residents to receive priority housing for next year,” the email from Ramsey said. “We have listened to you, to Student Senate, as well as many students who have supported you, and are persuaded by your stance on this issue. While we know this will not make everyone in the building happy, we feel it is important to honor our stated promise.”
All Hanson residents will — as previously promised — receive $250 in housing credit, but only basement residents will receive the priority in accordance with the original commitment made by Associate Dean of College Life for Residential and First-Year Programs (RFYP) Keira Kant in an email sent Jan. 24.
Senator Abigail Hauer ’21, a former Hanson basement resident appreciated that Ramsey reinstated the priority housing and applauded the advocacy by Hanson basement residents and senators — especially Senator Marisa Balanda ’21 — alike, which put pressure on the college to make the change. Furthermore, she expressed her willingness to assist temporarily displaced residents move and urged RFYP to provide support as well.
“I’m very glad that Dean Ramsey reinstated priority housing for the former Hanson Basement residents,” she said. “The Basement girls came together to voice their opinions in Senate, and I’m pleased to say that the collaborative expression led to resolution.”
Balanda echoed Hauer’s thanks.
“I’m glad that the college has decided to honor its original commitment by reinstating priority housing for the former Hanson basement residents,” Balanda said. “I want to thank Dean Ramsey for reaching out to me, personally, and listening to the student body.”
Later Thursday evening, College President Janet Morgan Riggs sent an email to all students summarizing the college’s response to the mold issue and announcing the creation of a new committee of students, facilities staff, and residence life staff to make recommendations “to improve our responsiveness to facility issues in residence halls.”
Riggs said she will ask for those recommendations to be submitted by the end of the academic year.
Furthermore, as previously reported, the mold consultant will make recommendations to address any issues identified in a summer room-by-room visual inspection for mold; those recommendations will be available for the public to view in the fall.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 6:52 p.m. with a comment from Hauer, at 7:03 p.m. from Balanda, and at 8:30 p.m. to reflect the new email from Riggs. (-B. Pontz)