Number of students planning to live on campus ‘much lower than expected,’ Mirrielees student staff axed for fall

Aug. 25, 2020, 6:42 p.m.

“The number of students planning to live on campus was much lower than expected,” wrote Assistant Vice Provost for Residential Education Cheryl Brown in a Tuesday email, notifying seven students who had been slated to fill staff positions in Mirrielees that their staff roles would not be honored for fall quarter. 

Mirrielees and other resident-fellow communities will be closed for the fall, according to Brown. All undergraduates living on campus in fall will be housed in Escondido Village Graduate Residences, Building A (EVGR-A) and have their own bathrooms.

Brown and University spokespeople did not immediately respond to questions about the number of students planning to live on campus, or how many the University had expected. 

Student Affairs spokesperson Pat Lopes Harris told The Daily that the number of undergraduates assigned to campus housing exceeds Mirrielees’s capacity — which is around 290 students, according to an R&DE website. Harris said that putting students in EVGR-A “creates a distinct undergraduate community there.”

Brown told the would-be fall Mirrielees staffers that if they still wanted to live on campus and had filled out a housing application, they would be assigned to EVGR-A. Brown suggested that some of them could be hired for staff positions in EVGR-A. 

EVGR-A resident assistants (RA) and students in summer housing will move in on Sept. 4, and others will move in between Sept. 8 and 11. While students living in Mirrielees are generally not required to purchase a meal plan, the R&DE email said that students assigned to EVGR-A are required to have one. Autumn housing and dining charges will not begin until Sept. 12, according to the email.

Leya Elias ’21, a Truman Scholar and president of the Black Pre-Law Society who was slated to staff Mirrielees in fall, said she expected better planning and budgeting from the University. 

“As a FLI student whose parents are no longer working due to the pandemic, staffing as an RA was a big part of my decision to stay enrolled as a student for the next year as opposed to working a full-time job,” Elias told The Daily. “Whereas now, it is much too late to arrange plans for lost income.”

“This one-week notice is truly unprecedented and does not feel aligned with the University’s commitment of valuing and supporting FLI students and student staff,” Elias added, expressing hope that the University would prioritize first-generation and/or low income (FLI) students for EVGR-A staff roles.

The University announced in June that students who had been appointed to staff the Row would be out of a job. When it later rolled back its plans to bring half of undergrads back to campus in fall, Stanford revoked student staff positions with the exception of Mirrielees and EVGR-A staff.

There will be no virtual RA, ethnic theme associate (ETA) or academic theme associate (ATA)  roles due to “budgetary constraints and equity issues,” according to an Aug. 13 email from Brown. 

Student staff “will be invited to serve in their on-campus student staff roles when the houses reopen,” she added in the same email. “We hope to honor RA, ETA and ATA appointments for up to three quarters.” 

This article has been updated with information from Pat Lopes Harris.

Contact Charlie Curnin at ccurnin ‘at’ and Kate Selig at kkselig23 ‘at’

Charlie Curnin '22 is the editor-in-chief of The Stanford Daily. Contact him at eic 'at' Selig served as the Vol. 260 editor in chief. Contact her at kselig 'at'

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