September 4, 2020

Snell-Hitchcock Turned to Isolation Dorm; Residents Reassigned to Woodlawn or Released from Housing Contract

Snell-Hitchcock hall

Snell-Hitchcock hall

Jamie Manley / The Chicago Maroon

Snell-Hitchcock will be used as isolation housing for the 2020-21 school year, according to an email sent by administrators to returning Snell-Hitchcock residents Monday afternoon. Students previously assigned to Snell-Hitchcock may choose between moving to Fama house in the new Woodlawn Residential Commons or being released from their on-campus housing contracts.

Dean of Students Michele Rasmussen and Assistant Vice President for Campus Life Richard Mason said in the email that this is a temporary measure and “a required decision to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

Both the original email and an internal email circulated to residents confirmed that the Snell-Hitchcock RAs and RHs will be accompanying students to Fama house, where they will be joining 13 upperclassmen who placed into the new house during the housing lottery. Snell-Hitchcock's Resident Deans will have off-campus housing covered by the University. There will be no first-year students in the new combined Snell-Hitchcock-Fama house.

Snell-Hitchcock will be arranging a new house lottery to assign rooms in Fama house.

Resident Head Katie Long told returning students that they will have the chance to move back into Snell-Hitchcock when it reopens.

This announcement comes less than a month before the start of Fall Quarter, leaving students who opt out of their housing contracts with very little time to secure off-campus housing, as well as potentially decreased availability of alternative housing options.

Catherine Rohret, ’23, said that they were “heartbroken…but even more than that, angry.”

“It's baffling to me that the university had to wait this long to inform residents that we're being relocated. My friends and I are currently in the process of looking for apartments, and it feels almost malicious for the university to inform us of this decision on August 31, when the typical move-in for apartments is at the beginning of the month.”

For Noah Klowden, ’23, the shift to isolation housing has led to his decision to complete Fall Quarter from his home in California. “I was already torn between coming back or not due to safety concerns, but the main motivator for coming back for me was to live in Hitchcock House. Now that that's no longer on the table, I don't have enough reason to risk infection by returning.”

In addition to logistical concerns about transitioning to Fama House, Snitchcock residents have expressed concern about the preservation of house culture. For instance, Snell and Hitchcock each host elaborate house meetings, featuring the Hitchcock admiral, House bard, Snell Air Marshall, and many other unique traditions. With three houses folding into one, and only one set of housing staff to oversee house events, this tradition may be scrapped for the year.

Connor Lockhart, ’21, said “The complete lack of a dorm for returning members as well as the fact that no first years will be officially Snell-Hitchcock poses a pretty big challenge for how people will maintain a sense of identity with the house.”

Nevertheless, he remains optimistic: “A fair number of students inside of Snell-Hitchcock thought that we would be the quarantine dorm prior to the announcement of Stony so we weren’t entirely caught off guard…I have faith that through a big combination of outreach and internal enthusiasm that Snitch will emerge out of this as strong a house as ever.”

Correction on Sept. 6, 2020, 10:47 a.m. CDT:

A previous version of this article stated that Snell-Hitchcock resident Deans will also move to Woodlawn Residential Commons.