Posted by Alex Hodor-Lee
For at least the second year running, Skidmore students who came to school early to represent this institution athletically or by way of pre-orientation or peer mentorship, who chose to exercise their right to take residence off-campus, were without housing for the two weeks prior to the start of classes (and I qualify with "at least" because my institutional memory doesn't extend beyond two years).
Last August Dean Rochelle Calhoun held a "meet the dean" seminar in Gannet Auditorium. The meet quickly morphed into an hour-long bashing when students-rightly incandescent at the College's failure to secure pre-semester housing for students whose leases hadn't yet begun-berated Dean Calhoun, decrying the College's indifference.
The issue was raised August 2012 (and again this August). Many students' leases don't begin until the day before classes so that Saratoga landlords can prolong their extortionate rent fees to horse-fanatics "summering" in Saratoga. For athletes, who travel to compete and train for up to four hours a day under the summer sun, this adds another level of anxiety because they're without housing during the two-week gap.
This also affects peer mentors who undergo training. During the fiery meeting, one of the nearly 150 students present yelled out, "I was forced to live out of my car for a week!" Unfortunately, she found no sympathy from a very idle Don Hastings, who minimized the College's responsibility for a student sleeping in her sedan during pre-o.
That students who commit to the College should have to live out of their cars is deplorable and indefensible. The school's apathetic responses might evince several unsavory qualities about this institution: firstly, students choosing to live off-campus to avoid the exorbitantly high costs of campus living are met with indifference by school administrators. Secondly, that the school does not care about athletes or have much consideration for their performance. Thirdly, that it does not behoove upperclassmen to come back early and train to become peer mentors (presumably, they urge their mentees not to participate in the peer mentor program unless they're cool with being homeless by their junior or senior year). Finally, that as your time goes on at Skidmore, you are less appreciated.
It's not an easily solved logistical problem, but it is solvable. Speaking candidly, I have no solution to the problem. But I will offer this: if at Don Hasting's Skidmore College there are no rooms for hard-working student ambassadors, then at our Skidmore College there should be no room for Don Hastings.