RAs, students voice safety concerns following relocation to overflow housing

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When Angela Lim, a residential advisor at Brewster, Boland and Brockway Halls, is on call, she walks along Irving Avenue from her dorm to Crouse Hospital’s Marley Education Center at midnight to do safety rounds. She swipes into the building and walks past rooms with test dummies and hospital beds. Once she checks the Syracuse University-owned residence area, she walks back home to BBB.

At 2:00 am, she does it again.

After it underestimated yield for the class of 2026, SU notified approximately 200 sophomores who were assigned to live in DellPlain that they would be relocated to accommodate the freshman class. Marley is one of four housing options, which also include the Sheraton, 206 Walnut Ave. and University Village apartments. Students could request where they wanted to live through ranked-choice voting.

While Lim conducts her rounds with another RA, she said she’s often paired with a female, also of small stature.



“(The assignment) still doesn’t help,” Lim said. “It’s really creepy at night, (we’re doing) rounds of the building at like midnight and 2am. And it’s kind of sketchy (at the hospital) at 2:00 am “

Rachel Jang, an RA at 206 Walnut, expressed similar safety concerns. Before she was assigned to the house – which the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority previously occupied – Jang said she was supposed to be an RA in Booth.

The university hired two new RAs for Marley, one new RA for 206 Walnut and an additional four for the Sheraton, said Sarah Scalese, SU’s senior associate vice president for communications, in an email.

The university still has not hired new residential directors for any of the buildings that serve as overflow housing. Instead, they are incorporated into existing dorm complexes.

When students moved in, 206 Walnut joined a complex already comprised of Washington Arms, Walnut Hall and Haven Hall. When she’s on call, Jang said she’s responsible for residents in all four buildings.

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“When you’re on call, and you’re a girl, and you get a call at 3:00 am (and) someone’s like, ‘Oh, I got locked out’ … You have to walk in the middle of the night to another building, ”Jang said. “That sucks.”

When female RAs raised safety concerns to Student Living about walking longer distances alone in the middle of the night, Jang said the office told them they could call their own escort from the Department of Public Safety.

Students have previously experienced issues with these services, and Jang said difficulties in getting an escort can deteriorate some RAs from calling DPS. Even if someone accompanies students, Jang said that some people don’t feel safe around DPS officers.

“You feel unsafe, but it’s not enough where you would want to call someone to walk you somewhere,” Jang said.

Scalese wrote in her statement that each location includes “security measures to promote the safety of all residents,” including swipe access for rooms and buildings, as well as services and support from DPS.

When Katherine Keane moved into her dorm at 206 Walnut early, she didn’t see a DPS officer stationed at the entrance. Keane, a sophomore who was displaced from DellPlain, also didn’t have a key on her first day and couldn’t get in contact with the Office of Student Living, which left her locked out of her room for a period of time.

She said the university was still testing the house’s fire alarms, and the industrial kitchen inside was unlocked as well.

For some students who expected to live at DellPlain, but were relocated to Marley, the housing reassignment meant they no longer had living in a room without an outward facing window. In rooms on the inner section of the residence area, all windows face into one common room.

SU plans to install solar tubes that will provide natural light into the rooms for students who don’t have outward-facing windows, Scalese said.

Marley also had issues with air conditioning during the beginning of the semester, Scalese said, but the university resolved the issue within a few days.

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Keane said relocating from DellPlain was “really stressful.” In an attempt to resolve the issue, she requested a second-year housing requirement waiver, but Vernetta Kinchen, SU’s executive director of housing and lodging, told her she was unable to give waivers to displaced students or make any exceptions. Kinchen did not respond to comment.

Keane said that despite the stress and confusion, her housing situation worked out well for her and her roommate. She was placed in her first choice among the provided housing relocation options.

“My roommate and I are pretty happy with how it did end up,” Keane said.

Jang also sees positives in the housing changes. She was set to be an RA in Booth this year after living and working there last year, but said living at 206 Walnut was an opportunity to live in a house during college.

“I feel really grateful because (when) I was going to college I really wanted that experience of living in a house, but I knew I didn’t really have the funds or I didn’t sign a lease fast enough with other people, ”Jang said.

Still, before Keane got to campus, she said she felt SU was avoiding student concerns, despite the stress they were experiencing.

“When you’re told that you have a space to live in a specific spot and you’ve planned (it) out – my roommate and I were planning out what we’re going to put on our wall, who was going to get a fridge and things like that – and it’s like all of a sudden, it’s just like ripped out from underneath you, ”she said. “It’s just kind of a shock to the system.”

Contact Jana: [email protected] | @JanaLoSeal

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