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Returning Barnardians Were Guaranteed Housing in 2009

Update, 6:16 pm: Dean Hinkson just sent us this statement:

The policy was changed last February (2012) due to more and more returning students requesting housing, and overall, more students opting to stay on campus instead of seeking off-campus housing. Even so, we are making every effort to accommodate as many students as we can and to date, we have found housing for almost all of the students who requested assignments.

Interesting discovery on the Barnard housing front. A tipster (turned commenter) pointed out that in February 2009, Barnard’s housing website included the following passage:

Students applying for re-admission to the College and those not enrolled in the Spring semester are guaranteed housing if accepted (for the upcoming fall semester), but must submit an application and wait for a room assignment from Residential Life and Housing in August.

In short, in 2009 students returning from leaves of absence could regain guaranteed housing, if they got it the fall of their return.

However, when Dean Hinkson commented on the housing crisis yesterday, she did not mention that returning students were once guaranteed guaranteed housing. Rather, she said:

There has never been guaranteed housing for transfers, however, in previous years we have been able to accommodate their requests. Students on leave have also traditionally been accommodated but this year’s situation did not allow for that.

This pretty clearly implies that returning students, like transfers, were never guaranteed housing. Clearly, that’s not the case. In 2009 at least, a Barnard student taking a leave of absence was guaranteed housing. In 2012, they no longer are. The question is: when was the policy changed?

Probably last February. The current housing contract for students taking leaves of absence was last revised in February 25th, 2012. It says that students going on leave will not be guaranteed housing upon return, but rather placed on a Non-Guaranteed Waitlist. In other words, they’re bound for the Y or to Brandon. One Barnard student we’ve spoken to, who took a leave of absence in Spring 2012, claims that the contract she signed in December—before the latest revision—said she’d be guaranteed housing when she returned in Fall 2012.

We’ve reached out to Barnard for comment, and we’ll let you know when we hear back. In the meantime, feel free to speculate wildly in the comments (or share any concrete facts or probable insights). As always, we’re reachable at

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  • MRA says:

    @MRA Good stuff, guys.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous “The policy was changed last February (2012) due to more and more returning students requesting housing.” -AHinks

    all current returning students have to have left, and signed contracts, before last semester, (which started before February 2012). right? didn’t they just take away housing for this semester for returning students? i’m guessing the policy that changed in february was the guarantee thing since it’s the only thing that affects housing numbers. i think i see where this is going…

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous (where it was going is ‘barnard breaking its own contracts’)

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous classic but satisfying to finally see this all exposed

  • You're missing the point.... says:

    @You're missing the point.... The mere fact that they have changed the policy since 2009 is NOT what’s important. Given the influx of housing applicants and the school’s bad planning, I don’t think they had a choice. What matters is HOW they deal with the resulting problems. If Barnard can’t guarantee on campus housing for transfer and leave of absence kids….fine. But the trade off is that the school absolutely cannot expect students to fend for themselves in the treacherous world of New York real estate, THEN threaten to take away 11k of their financial aid, and THEN continue to systematically act as though it’s not their problem by giving out half-baked/equivocated/vague answers to people’s questions.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous you’re missing the point right now, which is that barnard did guarantee housing to these kids amd chose to lie about it rather than come clean when the guaranteed housing wasn’t there.

      1. OP says:

        @OP ^you are so right. It was not just a policy change like I thought. Barnard knowingly shit on people’s contracts. And it only makes it worse that they did something so shady & unethical and are unwilling to deal with it properly.

  • barnard12 says:

    @barnard12 I went off campus after a disaster of a freshman roommate. I was told that once I left it would be incredibly hard/no guarantee to get back into housing. This was in May 2009. So please stop complaining! This is how housing works

    1. BC13 says:

      @BC13 You moved off campus, but remained enrolled as a student, taking classes. There is a big difference between simply moving off campus and taking a semester or a year off, in which one has stopped their studies for whatever reason.

      When I was looking at Barnard, back in 2008, I was told that housing was guaranteed for all four years, unless you moved off campus. And yes, students who time off from Barnard were still guaranteed housing when they returned.

      1. barnard12 says:

        @barnard12 Um, where did I say that I remained enrolled?

  • Privilege-Checking Bear says:

    @Privilege-Checking Bear You chose to move off campus, and had the money to make that choice. Many students took leaves of absence for medical or family emergencies–which they obviously do not choose–and do not have the economic resources to live off campus now that they’re back and being denied housing. So, um, don’t tell people they can’t complain. People have plenty of reason to complain.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous transfers have never been guaranteed housing and transfers are not the same as returning students. i think this article may have confused the two when it states “returning students, like transfers, have never been guaranteed housing”.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous i think you’re confusing “like” and “such as”

  • KatieJ457 says:

    @KatieJ457 That’s good that the college is helping to accommodate students.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous no, “like” is correct. transfers are not considered returning students, hombré. so, saying “returning students, such as transfers” would be saying transfers are considered returning students, which they’re not.

  • Concerned says:

    @Concerned Barnard should stop admitting so many students. A little exclusivity would do the place some good.

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