Three freshmen who live in a study lounge in Thurston Hall said they were told Tuesday they must leave the room after they sent a petition to the Community Living and Learning Center asking to remain in the room.
The three women, who asked not to be identified, are being housed temporarily in Thurston’s fifth-floor study lounge. They said they were told they would have to leave the temporary housing and would be notified of their re-assignments by Friday, with the small possibility that they will stay together and be placed in another room in Thurston.
“I have loved this University since the day I got here,” one of the women said. “But I think this is a very unfair thing of them to do.”
As of Tuesday, 18 students were assigned to tentative housing, said Paul Barkett, assistant director of housing services. He said students were told they would be removed from their temporary rooms by Sept. 15.
The three women said they received letters about their housing assignments this summer, specifying their roommates’ names and room number. Shortly after, two of the women received letters that said the housing they were assigned was temporary.
The students said they started collecting signatures from fifth-floor residents upon their arrival at Thurston. They secured about 118 names on the petition – including the names of the floor’s two community facilitators. The petition stipulated that the signers agreed to forgo use of the study lounge and accept that the women would continue to live in the room.
University administrators told the women they would have to obtain a signature from every resident on the floor to remain in the room, said Bob Ludwig, a public affairs specialist in GW’s Office of University Relations.
“They didn’t get 100 percent agreement from the entire floor,” he said. “That’s why the University couldn’t accept the petition.”
The freshmen said their parents called University administrators to discuss the matter. They also said they pled their case to Jesse Strauss, executive vice president of the Student Association.
“CLLC was really short-sighted about this,” Strauss said. “You can’t put people together in a room and then break them apart. It’s not fair and cruel.”
Simone Denny, assistant community director of Thurston, met with the women Aug. 28 after she learned about the petition, they said.
“She told us we had to start with the bottom people and follow the correct chain of command,” one of the women said.
The fifth floor held a general floor meeting Monday. At the meeting, the women talked with Denny and were told she would present a case on their behalf to the CLLC administrators Tuesday.
Denny did not return phone calls requesting comment Wednesday.
Denny said a decision would be made by Tuesday, with no chance for appeal. The girls learned late Tuesday night they would have to leave the room.
“We have just gotten adjusted,” one of the students said. “We love each other and have planned out our room.”
When the women are re-assigned to different rooms Friday, they feasibly could end up in one of the other all-freshman residence halls – Crawford, Lafayette or Madison. Some freshman women are housed in the all-female Strong Hall and some freshman athletes reside in Fulbright Hall, said Linda Donnels, associate vice president of Student and Academic Support Services and dean of students.
Donnels said the University wants to keep freshmen in the same halls to provide them better services and support networks.