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 tips@bwog.com.