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Three-year Eastman housing policy raises concern





Three-year Eastman housing policy raises concern

The student living center (SLC) is a dorm, not a home

Seiji Yamashita


There is a peculiar rule at the Eastman School of Music (ESM): the three-year mandatory dorm residence.

Yes, Eastman requires its students to stay in the dorms through their junior year. That is one year more than the two years required on River Campus. Eastman School of Music, which is supposedly part of University of Rochester, practices different housing policies.

First and foremost, why does Eastman require students to live on campus for three years? An optimist would speculate the reason is to build a strong community, which makes sense since one of the reasons why students attend music school is to network.

While creating a strong community may be a valid reason, other competitive music schools do not practice a three year mandatory dorm stay. Juilliard only requires students to live on campus their freshman year, while the Curtis Institute of Music, the New England Conservatory, and the Manhattan School of Music require two years.

The only school with a similar policy to Eastman's is the Oberlin Conservatory, which requires on-campus living until graduation. However, Oberlin Conservatory offers five different housing options, including on-campus residential homes, whereas Eastman is severely limited in the housing options it provides.

Eastman offers two types of rooms: singles for upperclassmen and doubles for freshmen, both corridor style, within the Student Living Center (SLC). ESM does not offer suite-style rooms/apartments like at the U of R and many other universities. All rooms share a bathroom with the entire hall, which consists of a mixture of freshmen doubles and upperclassmen singles. Students live in corridor style housing from their freshman through junior year and are unable to live in different housing configurations, or to practice independent living, until their senior year of college.

Interestingly, Eastman does have a junior housing lottery that is not listed on the Residential Life website. According to the housing packet, the Junior Off-Campus Housing Lottery is designed to create space for incoming students. However, this raises the question: why is keeping the dorms at full capacity placed as a higher priority than having equal housing experiences of the student body?

This quote from the ResLife website sums up the situation:

In addition to the fact that a majority of Eastman students live on-campus, the Student Living Center’s proximity to practice rooms, rehearsal spaces, restaurants, and museums makes it a wonderful place to live!

Sure, living on-campus at Eastman is convenient and provides the opportunity for community-building. However, is three years necessary to build a community? Other schools do not believe so.
If Eastman practiced the same policy as the U of R, students could build a community during their first two years living on-campus, then reap the benefits of independent living and having a community in the abundant competitively priced apartments within blocks of ESM.

Finally, this quote states that one of the many reasons to live in the Student Living Center is because a majority of Eastman students live on campus. Here is the reality. The majority of Eastman students living on-campus don't have a choice.

For current ESM students