Housing and Residence Life (HRL) have reversed course and decided not reopen Serra and Neumann residence halls this semester.
Both Neumann and Serra are part of “The Complex,” which HRL closed at the beginning of August so students who moved from states on New Jersey’s travel advisory list could quarantine in the buildings. In mid-August, HRL announced in an email that it would reopen the complex after students were done quarantining.
“We want to make it possible for any student who wishes to live on campus to do so,” the email read, “To accomplish this, we will reopen the Complex (Cabrini, Neumann, and Serra Halls) for the fall semester beginning Sept. 10-13, 2020.”
Students who chose to move into their original Complex housing were supposed to start moving in on Sept. 10.
The University will only be opening the Cabrini residence hall.
Interim Director of Housing and Residence Life Jessica Proano said the reason for this change was that there were not enough students moving back into the Complex that would justify keeping all three buildings open.
“The demand for students to return to the Complex was not enough to have all three buildings remain open,” Proano said. “As a result, in order to provide the best campus resources, we are only opening Cabrini Hall. The buildings’ layouts are identical, and Cabrini has an elevator as well as two laundry rooms.”
Proano also said that all students who were in the Complex were reassigned to a new room during the original closure. Students who chose to move back into the Complex were reassigned to Cabrini along with their intended roommate and suitemates. Proano said there were many students who opted not to move back into the Complex and stayed in their new room assignment instead.
“When we closed the Complex in August, we placed every student who wanted to stay on campus in another residence hall,” Proano said. “We are opening Cabrini specifically for those students who wanted to move back to Cabrini Hall. Some of the students that were moved out of the Complex decided to stay in the residence hall they were moved to.”
Ryan Woodhams, a junior business major, was one of the students who was supposed to move into Serra. He said after the change, he is switching from HyFlex to remote learning.
Woodhams also said he was confused by HRL’s justification for the re-closure of the residence halls.
“I am immensely confused, frustrated and disappointed,” Woodhams said. “First and foremost, the rationale behind the move is puzzling, at best. Not enough individuals were going to live in Serra? Isn’t social distancing and reduced destiny the order of the times?”
Woodhams said he originally found out that his residence hall would not be reopening after repeated phone calls and emails to both HRL and Disability Support Services. “I found out by making another follow-up call to housing, not by them reaching out to me,” he said.
Proano said HRL encourages students who are upset about the change and their new residence hall placement to reach out to them via email, and housing will work with them.
Proano also said her department has received a lot of positive responses from students because they will still be with their roommates and suitemates.
“The response that we have gotten thus far is that most students are pleased about moving back to the Complex with their intended roommates/suitemates,” Proano said.
Proano also thanked students for their patience during this unprecedented time.
“Housing and Residence Life appreciates the patience of the Seton Hall resident community as we work together to ensure them the best possible experience in the residence halls and on the campus,” Proano said. “This is new territory for us all as we navigate the pandemic and campus life. Seton Hall students are proving to be Seton Hall strong and resilient and HRL is proud of you.”
Genevieve Krupchek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.