Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
June 12, 2024

Dealing with the Dell

October 22, 2007

While we acknowledge that the relocation of Hopkins' humanities departments to the Dell House during Gilman's renovation is necessary, we find the University's treatment of Dell House residents upsetting. The departments' move to a centralized space is essential to maintaining the interdisciplinary interaction that defines the humanities at Hopkins. Unfortunately, the only viable option was the Dell House, an apartment building already occupied. The alternative, trailers scattered across campus, would be wholly unacceptable. The Dell House, while relatively far from the center of the Homewood campus, will nevertheless provide a space in which the humanities departments will be able to operate.

We are disturbed, rather, by the manner in which the University has dealt with current Dell House residents. While the administration has been aware of the planned move since the spring, many Dell House residents remained completely ignorant of the pending relocation until a report in the News-Letter last week. This relocation would force residents to vacate the Dell House by February. Despite the administration's knowledge of this move to the Dell House, and the consequential displacement, residents remained uninformed. As most of the residents are students, this would mean that they would have to find new housing halfway through the academic year. Had residents been made aware of the plan from the outset, many would surely have chosen not to move into the Dell House in the first place. One cannot help but suspect, rather cynically, that Hopkins wanted to maximize its profit by keeping residents in the dark and collecting their monthly rents.

The administration has said that Dell House residents will not be disregarded, as the University will cover the cost of professional movers and will offer apartments in the Charles, Blackstone and Campus Square complexes. The University's pledge to "find a fair rent" for the displaced residents must be fulfilled. For students, burdened by the incredible expense of a Hopkins education, affordable housing is essential. The Dell House was chosen by many of its residents for its affordability, and thus a fair rent must mean one that is comparable to the rent that Dell House residents currently pay. Any significant increase in the cost of housing incurred by those residents being relocated cannot be tolerated.

We also recommend that the University consider permitting student residents to occupy their apartments until May, when many will leave Baltimore for summer vacation. The University has declared that the timing of this relocation is based upon the need to initiate Gilman's renovation during the summer. Dennis O'Shea, spokesperson for the University, has said that "it would be irresponsible for the University not to take advantage of the summer to work on the project." We assert, however, that it would be irresponsible to displace students in the middle of their academic year, without having given them sufficient prior notice. We urge the University to consider pushing back the start date of construction if possible. By doing so, Dell House residents will be able to finish their semesters without interruption.

We are most troubled by the manner in which Hopkins has handled current Dell House residents in its relocation of the humanities departments. Hopkins has exhibited flagrant disregard for its students by keeping Dell House residents in the dark. However, it is not too late for the University to redeem itself. We urge the University to, from this day forward, pay greater attention to the well being of the soon-to-be displaced residents by ensuring them a truly fair rent and allowing residents to stay until the end of the academic year.

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