As Davenport College’s housing draw for rising juniors began Monday night, Davenport Dean Craig Harwood stood up to address the nervous, expectant crowd.
“I know housing has been very complicated and frustrating for people this year,” Harwood said. “I’m sorry.”
Facing a shortage of beds in Davenport and in Arnold Hall, its annex building, at least 11 rising Davenport juniors — selected through a lottery Friday — will live in University-owned apartments in the Harrison Court complex at 210 Park St. or in row houses at 90 and 94 York Square Place, Harwood announced in an e-mail to rising Davenport juniors on Friday. Pierson College, which will hold its class of 2011 housing draw tonight, will also annex two or three rising juniors to Harrison Court.
As of Monday evening, neither the Yale College Dean’s Office nor the deans of Davenport and Pierson colleges had information concerning the specific configurations of the annex apartments, though Harwood said he would work to preserve Davenport students’ existing housing groups.
Harwood would not comment on whether the annexed students would all live in one building or be divided among Harrison Court and York Square, but confirmed that every student would have a room.
“Things look very good in terms of space,” he said in an e-mail Sunday evening.
Although Yale does not guarantee housing to juniors and seniors, administrators have said they remain committed to finding on-campus rooms for all who want them.
The apartments at Harrison Court are located next to Pierson College, while the row houses are adjacent to Payne Whitney Gymnasium.
Harwood and other members of Yale’s housing council — composed of residential college deans and masters, Yale College Council representatives, and members of the Yale College Dean’s Office — have said the University will attempt to make the annex housing comparable to regular on-campus housing in terms of costs and amenities. Students living in apartments or row houses will effectively pay the same rent as their on-campus counterparts, about $3,000 per semester. The annex apartments will be outfitted with standard Yale furniture, including a bed, desk, chair and bureau, along with amenities such as high-speed Internet, cable TV and telephone service, Harwood said.
The apartments have kitchens, so annexed students will not be required to purchase University meal plans. Meal plans, which cost about $2,500 per semester, are normally mandatory for all students living in on-campus housing.
Rising Davenport juniors who will be annexed next year said in interviews they were disappointed, but optimistic about apartment living.
“I would much rather be living in Davenport,” Davenport Gilan Salehi ’11 said, “but I am kind of hopeful that the off-campus housing will be marginally nicer than the dorms themselves to make up for it.”
Nina Kristofik ’11, one of the students annexed to an apartment, said the affected suite groups are tightly knit and hope to live in the same building next year instead of being divided among the three available spaces. Kristofik said this year’s housing draw has been unusually emotional.
“I was really angry before the draw for configuration,” Kristofik said. “I was caught up in panic and stress, but while it is a frustrating situation, I don’t think it’s necessary to be angry.”
Despite her disappointment, Kristofik said she thought the Dean’s Office had handled the housing process as well as could be expected.
“I think our dean has been trying really hard to help us out,” Kristofik said.
Annexing juniors to University-owned apartments is not new for Davenport, which once took 60 beds in the Harrison Court apartments, said John Meeske, associate dean for physical resources and planning.
Several current apartment residents have said they will leave next year, Meeske said, which will make room for annexed undergraduates. If fewer apartments were available, the University would have considered other options, including moving annexed students to other residential colleges. Meeske said Yale’s housing council is considering steps to ensure apartments will be available for annex housing in the future.
“Maybe we need to have agreements with University Properties so undergrads can get first crack at those apartments,” he said.
Jonathan Edwards College Dean Kyle Farley said in an e-mail Sunday night that Harrison Court and the row houses are also potential annex locations for rising JE juniors.