Restructuring Vanderbilt's Fall 2021 Housing Process

Restructuring Vanderbilt's Fall 2021 Housing Process

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Vanderbilt Commodore started this petition to Jim Kramka and

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the college experience for all Vanderbilt students. This past year, students have had to scramble to find whatever housing was available in order to accommodate for their education during this global catastrophe. As the pandemic raged, Vanderbilt students committed to “anchoring down and stepping up”, sacrificing their college experience for the greater good.

As the world begins to return to normal, Vanderbilt students have begun counting the days to when they could once again embrace the college experience promised by Vanderbilt in years past. However, on Thursday, April 1st, the Vanderbilt Housing and Residential Experience Office revealed the following:

“We do not anticipate granting off-campus authorization to students currently residing on campus, students who are participating in spring 2021 remote study, or students who are not currently enrolled. The Off-Campus Housing Waitlist will be available to rising 4th-year students or greater in the event that we gain additional flexibility over the coming months.”

As a student body, we are shocked that an administration which over the course of the pandemic has preached empathy and togetherness has so overtly committed to a blatant cash-grab in total disregard for the student experience and past norms. The administration has made the conscious decision to ignore:

  1. The fact that students who were forced to take this semester off due to external, pandemic related circumstances. Many students needed to return home to care for, provide economically, and support their families. Many students were forced to take the semester off due to extreme mental health degradations caused by the pandemic. The university is actively punishing students who were forced to make the difficult decision to take the semester off.
  2. The fact that true rising seniors who have always enjoyed a significant off-campus accommodation option.
  3. The fact that any students had already signed leases for off-campus accommodations for next semester. It is common for students to sign leases in early March, operating under the assumption that there would be no radical housing policy changes such as this. These leases more often than not require significant security deposits, not to mention financial liability for the duration of the lease.
  4. The fact that remote students who were already granted off-campus housing should already be accounted for in the projected number of off-campus students next year. To say otherwise defies basic logic. The Vanderbilt administration cannot gaslight their student body.

Quite frankly, it should come as no surprise that an administration which swapped out a much needed Spring Break with comically ineffectual “Reading Days” would roll out such a restrictive and apathetic housing process. As a student body, we hope that the administration will make a small step towards regaining the trust and respect of the student body by enacting the following changes:

  1. Students who can prove they have already engaged in a non-refundable off-campus lease prior to April 1 shall be granted off-campus status.
  2. Allow for a far greater number of seniors to live off-campus, a number at least consistent with years past.
  3. Would-be seniors who took one of the past two semesters off shall be treated in the housing process in the same manner as true seniors.
  4. Vanderbilt should respect the needs of students experiencing mental health issues by allowing them to choose their housing situation.

Not two years ago, Vanderbilt boasted having the happiest students in the country. This statistic is the reason why many of us decided to attend this institution. It is without exaggeration that we can say under this administration, this could not be further from the truth.

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