Sign your name: https://goo.gl/forms/5ZpPzPr2Es5uU5oC2
**If this resonates with you, please SIGN your name with the link above; we need all the support possible**
We, the undersigned students, are extremely concerned with the Office of Residence Life’s decision to close the Meredith Willson Residence Hall for the entirety of winter break this year. We fear that no students were consulted in the decision, so we are voicing our concern now.
Over 30% of our small student population is international; of those, the majority hails from East Asia. It can be financially devastating to travel the globe for a two-week holiday. This situation renders them effectively homeless and puts many students and their families in a position of financial burden. We are concerned by the email sent to the students from the Office of Residence Life, which states, “flight costs are not a reason for which we will grant extension past 8pm on the 22nd [of December] or prior to noon on Sunday, January 7th.”
President Polisi has reiterated the philosophy of the “Artist as Citizen” throughout his 33-year tenure. To charge students $15,990 – $19,970 to reside in the Residence Hall—including the first-year undergraduate students who are required to live on-campus—and then to treat them with such inconsideration for their financial and emotional wellbeing, is antithetical to that philosophy. As citizen artists, we are responsible for the health of our communities, especially within the current socioeconomic climate of this country.
Additionally, there still exists a separation of church and state in this country. So, why must the Juilliard School assume Christmas is a holiday celebrated by all students? Why must these students sacrifice their time and money in light of a religious holiday that is not their own? This assumption isolates many students in an attempt to clear the Residence Hall for thus far unknown reasons.
In previous years, Resident Assistants have been paid less than $50 per day to continue their duties during the winter break in the Residence Hall. Additional professional on-call positions were created this year, which ought to make it easier to staff the dorms. Especially considering that international students paid $150 to stay over during the vacation, we are confused with how these numbers add up.
But even more than financial considerations, we question the considerations as concerns building community at Juilliard. We ask the Office of Residence Life to reconsider their decision and reinstate the option for students to stay in the dorm over future breaks, as well as communicate with the student community on such decisions.