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Castle renovations needed, but univ. should clarify housing plans

Interim President Lisa Lynch recently sent an email detailing the demolition and renovations that will occur on Usen Castle over the next two years. Despite concerns about the safety of the building, students will still live in the Castle for the Fall 2016 semester. Once construction begins in the winter, they will be moved to other living on campus.

Castle Quad Senator Max Whitmore ’18 said to The Brandeis Hoot that, “the structural integrity of the Castle is, in some places, uncertain.” The ceiling has collapsed multiple times in different areas of the building, in addition to mold and other concerning damages. The building has continued to deteriorate for years, and conditions have previously necessitated emergency evacuations in the middle of the semester.

While the editorial board supports the renovations of the Castle, we are concerned that students will have to live in the Castle next fall because of the lack of other living space on campus. We as a school have determined that the Castle is unsafe to live in, which is the reason for the renovations in the first place. With a residence hall in this unsafe condition, how can we continue to allow students to live there?

The email did not go into detail on how students that live in the Castle during Fall 2016 will be accommodated when they have to move out in the spring, but one option is that sophomores will take the place of either midyears or study abroad students in the Village and Ziv.

If it’s not midyears and study abroad students who will be affected, then the space could only be allocated by cutting down the number of upperclassmen included in the housing lottery for the fall. But then a set of upperclassmen rooms should simply be included in the sophomore housing lottery from the get-go, rather than moving students around halfway through the year.

Brandeis has an obligation to student health and safety. All student housing options should meet a reasonable standard of living—not the bare minimum. Instead of cutting short term corners for long term solutions, the university should focus on taking the necessary steps to ensure the short term safety and comfort of students while ensuring an optimal future for student housing.

The editorial board does not want to preemptively endict any decision that the university may have made, but we ask that if specific plans are in place that they be made known sooner rather than later, so that current students can be prepared.

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