No air conditioning for some at NYU summer housing

Brittany Hall resident Holly Trantham tries to stay cool in her summer dorm rental. “It’s ridiculous that we’re paying to sleep in cots and to not sleep in our own rooms because they’re unbearable,” she said.

Think this summer has been a scorcher? Just count yourself lucky you don’t live at New York University’s Brittany Hall.

That’s because it’s one of two dorms at the pricey school that doesn’t have air conditioning. What’s worse, AC units aren’t allowed at Brittany or Rubin halls, which together house 817 students staying at NYU for the summer. The students pay $2,272 for a two-month stay in the dorms — to sleep in sweltering heat.

“The first night it was above 90 degrees, I woke up drenched in sweat and panting,” Chris, a Brittany Hall resident, said. “The next day I went and spent $100 on an AC unit just to get it taken away by the security guard at the front desk.”

In a letter the university sent out to students at Brittany Hall, the school said AC units are against NYU housing policy.

Brittany Hall and Rubin Hall are older facilities, and their electrical infrastructure can’t support portable AC units, nor are their windows designed to accommodate window units, NYU spokesman James Devitt explained in a statement.

The school is even confiscating portable units students try to sneak in: Brittany Hall Director Beth Ashley Staples sent out an e-mail this month reminding all residents that portable air conditioning units would be confiscated if they were brought into the building.

“It is absolutely miserable in these dorms, and I’ve spent countless nights not being able to sleep,” Brittany Hall resident Riley Showers said. “Not being able to bring in an AC on your own dime is the biggest joke I’ve ever heard.”

“When I’m tired and get home from work, I’m forced to go to a
restaurant with air conditioning,” moaned Laura Spanko, Rubin Hall
resident. “I can’t even relax in my own room because its’ so
unpleasant.”
 
Other colleges in the city that offer summer housing — Columbia, Fordham and Fashion Institute of Technology — all provide AC for their paying residents, or allow students to bring in window units for a fee.

Devitt said the school plans to “address the matter in the coming months,” and that Brittany Hall is scheduled to be renovated beginning in January 2013 — including installing air conditioning throughout the facility.

NYU provides co-ed ‘cooling centers’

As a relief from the heat, NYU has created what they call “cooling centers” on the top floor of Brittany Hall.

NYU Housing puts 19 cots — not beds — in the lone air-conditioned spot in the building: the 16th-floor penthouse. But, since the cots are occupied on a first-come, first-serve basis, many students skip dinner and race home after their summer internships or jobs to claim their cot. There they sleep, squeezed next to each other in a co-ed room.

“I find myself eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches almost every night just so I can sleep in a dirty and uncomfortable cot when I’m paying an arm and a leg to sleep in my twin bed,” Jamie Kidd, a Brittany Hall resident, said.

Not all dorms created equal

There are about 9,000 people paying to live in NYU summer housing.

But not all NYU dorms are subject to the archaic rules: Air conditioned dorms are available, as are modern apartment-style housing that comes fully equipped with central air conditioning, a kitchen and a living room. Those dorms are more expensive, however, and usually fill up quickly.

 


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