Miranda Wollen, Contributing Photographer

Helen Hadley Hall will be decommissioned and closed in the summer of 2024, per an email announcement sent to graduate and professional students by the Graduate Housing Office last week.

The dormitory, which has the capacity to house 205 graduate students, has served Yale graduate and professional students for 64 years. It was the first residence hall to house female graduate students and was named after the wife of former Yale president Arthur Twining Hadley. Leasing for HHH will continue as usual for the 2023-2024 academic year.

“The dorms themselves aren’t bad, but the space isn’t in great shape,” noted Nick Fisk GRD ’23, president of the Graduate and Professional Student Senate. “Even if Yale decided to keep them, it would be likely that they’d need to renovate them substantially in the coming years, which would cause a disruption in occupancy anyways.”

Jo Machesky GRD ’24, chair of the Graduate Student Association Executive Board, said the dorms were well-suited — albeit outdated — housing options for first year graduate students, international students and one-year masters students.

Community, convenience and cost were listed as the best attributes of HHH by multiple graduate and professional students, including Machesky. The building is located on Temple Street, a prime location close to central campus.

Additionally, students described Yale as a more reliable and less predatory landlord than some they find in East Rock and other farther-flung locations. Because Yale includes utilities and does not require a security deposit, Machesky said, the initial costs of acquiring housing are much lower.

Prices are rising throughout New Haven as an affordable housing crisis sweeps the city, but not everyone can opt for cheaper, on-campus lodging. 

Yale does not currently possess enough units for all graduate and professional students to live on campus, Machesky noted, which forces many to find other accommodations. 

Yale has not yet announced concrete plans to increase the number of on-campus housing units for graduate and professional students, an option other universities like MIT are taking to help combat rising prices. In last week’s announcement, the Graduate Housing Office promised only to “provide alternative accommodations” to students via apartment-style housing. Currently, Yale’s Graduate Housing page lists six unfurnished apartments and six furnished dormitories as student housing options — including the soon-to-be-defunct HHH.

Fisk noted, however, that “the devil is in the details,” pointing to the recent renovation of the Hall of Graduate Studies into the Humanities Quadrangle at 320 York Street. On-campus housing options for graduate students are dwindling, and it remains unclear whether the mass migration to off-campus housing is the cause or the effect of this phenomenon.

The GSA has considered hosting information sessions about renters’ rights and Connecticut-based resources to combat illegal landlord behavior, Machesky said, in response to the exodus of graduate and professional students from University housing.

Fisk and Machesky noted that they intended to continue conversations with administrators regarding affordable and reliable housing; the closing of HHH, both explained, was not a solution or a controversy in and of itself. Instead, it points to a larger-scale issue of changing graduate student backgrounds and needs, and the ever-shifting housing environment of New Haven.

“Ultimately, HHH didn’t solve or alleviate the affordable housing problem. It worked to solv[e] knowledge, reliability, and community problems. The real question is … what Yale decides to do with the replacement units,” Fisk said.

Students also noted more personal attachments to the hall. Located centrally on campus, the building attracted graduate and professional students from different disciplines and walks of life.

Additionally, students said that dorm-style living provided a sense of community in a sometimes isolating graduate student lifestyle.

“Beyond being an affordable residence in a uniquely central location on campus, HHH creates the opportunity to bond with people across many different graduate programs on a more personal level,” wrote Nicole Cheng SOM ’23.

Cheng provided photos of the friends she had made in her hall and mentioned potlucks, polo matches and concerts.

Cheng also noted, however, that the dorm was aged and suffered from a lack of air conditioning. Other students noted difficulties with their shared bathrooms and a consensus that management of the dorm’s facilities was subpar.

“I can understand the shift towards more modern housing options if aging facility issues like lack of air conditioning are addressed, but I’d also like to see considerations of an affordable residence option being offered at a central location on campus,” Cheng said. “It is unclear what will happen to the land HHH is on.”

Helen Hadley Hall is located at 420 Temple St.

Miranda Wollen is the University Editor for the News; she also writes very silly pieces for the WKND section. She previous covered Faculty and Academics, and she is a junior in Silliman College double-majoring in English and Classics.