Yale Daily News

The Yale College Dean’s Office announced in February that it would offer mixed-college housing for around 60 rising seniors, in an effort to keep upperclassmen from moving off campus.

The new housing option was originally going to be offered during the 2020–21 academic year, in the newly renovated Arnold Hall, which includes six doubles, six triples, two quads and 21 singles. But in an email to the student body in late March, Dean of Student Affairs Camille Lizarríbar announced that construction on the new housing had halted due to restrictions resulting from the novel coronavirus outbreak. She added in the email that those delays meant that students would not be able to pursue annex housing in the coming school year.

“Once we are no longer compromised by COVID restrictions, we will revive our efforts to expand and diversify our on-campus housing offerings,” the email read.

The University’s decision to offer mixed-college, on-campus housing is part of an ongoing push to keep students from moving off campus. While first years and sophomores are required to live on campus, the Yale Daily News reported in 2018 that 43.5 percent of seniors and 24.7 percent of juniors were living off campus during the 2018–19 academic year. This number is the latest in an upward trend of upperclassmen choosing to move off campus.

The 2019 YCC fall survey also found that only two-thirds of students “[were] satisfied or very satisfied with the facilities of their residential college.”

“The YCC has produced two Residential College reports in the past two years that detail students’ opinions on Residential College life,” YCC President Kahlil Greene ’21 said in a February 2020 interview with the News. “A common critique that was brought up was that students felt separated from their classmates in other colleges. We are excited to see that advocacy and administrator support resulted in this new provision.”

Yale College Dean Marvin Chun has made strengthening residential college life one of his major priorities since taking office. In addition to mixed-college housing, Chun has suggested offering more late-night dining options to improve on-campus life. Although the current mixed-college housing plans only include a single building, Chun told the News in 2018 that the Council of the Heads of College is working on a proposal for a block of buildings that would offer mixed-college housing.

Members of the class of 2021 interviewed by the News following the February announcement had mixed feelings about the new housing.

Lauren Gatta ’21 said that the location of the new housing “was [more] interesting” than the option of living with students from other colleges. She said that having more options for housing seemed like “a good thing,” but she would not personally opt for it, as the new living space lacks amenities like a buttery or proximity to a dining hall.

Similarly, Minahil Nawaz ’21 said that while the new housing seemed like it “could be pretty cool,” she decided not to pursue the option after realizing that it was far from spaces she uses regularly, such as her residential college gym, buttery and dining hall.

Still, when the project was halted in late March, many students expressed frustration at the lack of available annex housing. As Yale’s population has grown by 15 percent in the past four years, not all students are able to secure housing in their residential colleges and subsequently rely on annex housing as an on-campus alternative. Following Lizarríbar’s March email, upperclassmen who do not receive housing in their residential college might be pushed off campus.

“I would say that I’m extremely disappointed and angry at Yale for putting us in this situation,” said Riley Bird ’22. “Guaranteed housing is the responsibility of the college to implement and they have failed at doing so.”

Arnold Hall is located at 304 Elm St.

Amelia Davidson | amelia.davidson@yale.edu