University will not comply with BZA ruling

The Hall on Virginia Avenue will remain a freshman residence hall next year and study abroad students will be able to choose from all upperclassmen residence halls, officials announced Wednesday with other changes to housing selection.

The University will not comply with the Board of Zoning Adjustment’s order to house 70 percent of undergraduates, including all freshman and sophomores, on campus next semester, allowing GW to change some housing plans, officials said.

“We are not going to be in compliance and it will take us longer than this fall to become in compliance,” said Vice President and General Counsel Dennis Blumer. “We hope to get there.”

Plans for making HOVA an upperclassman hall were made in an effort to meet the BZA’s requirement. Officials said that the school had made a “good faith effort,” including purchasing a new building in Virginia (See University to buy Gallery) and rearranging student housing options, to comply with the BZA order.

The BZA is withholding construction permits for University projects, including one for construction of a new business school, while GW fails to comply with its restrictions.

Blumer said GW was in negotiations with the city to resolve the issue of the business school building permit.

“It is going to be a non-residential building so the situation may be different,” Blumer said. “We are hoping that (the city) will be helpful.”

Officials said the housing changes were made primarily in response to student concerns.

“Allowing study abroad students the pick of junior and senior halls just makes sense,” said Andrew Sonn, director of housing services. “We had a lot of feedback from students and it was not entirely positive. Students like to have the freedom of choice.”

Sonn also said that Madison Hall will be redesignated as a sophomore hall and that single rooms in Crawford, Guthridge, Strong and Francis Scott Key halls and the International House will be held for upperclassmen.

Student Association President Phil Robinson and President-elect Kris Hart were instrumental in bringing student concerns to the administration, officials said.

“The administration has been very receptive,” Robinson said. “We told them what the students’ concerns are and they have worked to address them.”

Students were glad to hear about the housing changes.

“I think it’s a good thing because it’s not fair for upperclassmen to be put in rooms without kitchens when sophomores get the nicer dorms,” freshman Emily Egan said.

-Andrea Nurko and Mosheh Oinounou contributed to this report.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.