All incoming transfer students will be required to live off-campus for the 2020-2021 academic year due to housing constraints, according to the admissions letter to new transfers.
In an email statement, the university said that the change was part of a collective decision made by University Enrollment Affairs, the Office of Housing and Residential Experience (OHARE) and the Office of the Provost. The decision aimed to reduce the overall population across campus residence halls to protect community health and safety from COVID-19. The university added that OHARE approved additional requests to live off-campus, in addition to these measures.
“You will be a welcome part of the community, and will be able to take full advantage of all instructional opportunities and campus resources,” the admissions letter reads.
Incoming sophomore transfer student Brandon Cole said that he was unaware that the new housing policy was different from years prior. He added that because there were only around 100 transfer students who identified as men, he was worried about being able to find a roommate. Without one, Cole said, he would have to pay full price for an apartment in Nashville.
“I don’t know exactly where to live,” Cole said. “I’m still looking up places.”
The university email response stated that students can use the Off-Campus Housing Service for free to find a list of properties looking to rent to Vanderbilt students. There, users can also connect with potential roommates and sublets. The email statement also said that a number of students were using the Facebook page for admitted transfer students to find roommates. Additionally, the university plans to offer on-campus housing to current transfer students in the 2021-2022 academic year.
Courtenay Roche, incoming second semester junior and also a transfer, said that the housing policy was the first real example of Vanderbilt’s poor treatment towards transfer students. She added that not worrying about having to find off-campus housing was one of the major reasons she elected to transfer to Vanderbilt over another institution. Roche says she is still glad to have transferred to Vanderbilt but was still struck by the university’s decision.
“I thought it was one of those prank email things,” Roche said, referencing a “dank new rand memes” Facebook post containing a parody letter from Interim Chancellor Susan R. Wente. “As somebody who transferred last year, I’m shocked that they are trying to solve their housing crisis by putting themselves in a harder position than they’re already in.”
Vanderbilt Transfer Student Leaders declined to comment.