By Nicole DeJacimo, Managing Editor
Last semester, Director of Residential & First-Year Programs Danielle Phillips announced at a Senate meeting that the College had decided not to renew any off-campus leases due to a long-term decrease in enrollment over the last two years, and warned students against signing any leases going forward. Gettysburg College Alumni Chris Kohn ‘17 and Michael Moore ‘17 reached out to The Gettysburgian to explain how the College’s decision has affected their’s, and others’, rental properties.
“The College has decided that students will no longer be able to be released from their residency requirement and will implement this decision over the next two years, reducing the number approved for the 2022-2023 academic year to approximately 50 students, and then no longer releasing students from their residency requirement starting with the 2023-2024 academic year,” Phillips said.
Kohn and Moore founded Stine Tree Partners in January 2020, named after Stine Hall where they met their first year, to give back to students after enjoying living off-campus themselves their senior year. They bought their first property that month and expanded to a second property in June 2021. The second house needed a good amount of renovation and was set to be done this month. The plan was to exclusively rent to Gettysburg students.
“We thought that doing this, would be financially good for us and we would be able to help these kids out during their senior year,” Kohn said. “We had good discourse with the kids from the first year, they were calling us to network and that’s really what we envisioned.”
After the announcement, a group of Gettysburg alumni had a meeting with President Iuliano to explain their concerns, but Kohn recalled the administration dismissing the alumni’s concerns, claiming camaraderie as an important part of a residential college. Kohn worries that decision this will decrease the College’s likability factor for a prospective student.
“Not only does this disrupt the landlords but it also disrupts some of the micro-economies in these environments. The cleaners, the handymen, the local banks, etc,” Kohn said.
According to Phillips, between 98–133 students lived in off-campus housing each year in nearly 23–30 houses for the last five academic years.
“Upset parents and alumni are not good for the college financially. Gettysburg was part of my philanthropic plan and now I don’t know if I want to turn it around because it didn’t make me want to open my wallet up,” Kohn said.