William Street Residents Petition for University-Funded Monthly Metrocards
William Street, located in the financial district, is farther from The New School's Greenwhich Village campus than all of the other university residence halls
The William Street hall council, a group of resident volunteers headed by one student elected by the dorm, is sending a proposal to the housing department. Residents are requesting that the university reimburse them for the $15 difference between the current $89 unlimited monthly Metrocard and next years higher $104 rate, which goes into effect on December 31.
William Street, located in the financial district, is further from The New School’s Greenwich Village campus than all of the other university residence halls, forcing the overwhelming majority of students to take the subway.
“There are students for whom 15 dollars [each month] is a big deal,” said Sunny Bertsch, head of William Street’s Hall Council.
“Yes, it’s the MTA who is responsible for these ridiculous price hikes,” Bertsch said. “But we think the school could and should help us out.”
On December 3, the William Street hall council’s proposal was submitted to Rob Lutomski, the head of student housing, and to the University Student Senate in an attempt to get the Senate’s support for the proposal.
Sunny Bertsch, the freshman head of the hall council, is spearheading what began as a petition, but has since evolved into a proposal detailing statistics on residents’ subway usage and means of payment (parents, loans, jobs, financial aid). Bertsch hopes the document will impress upon the housing department the severe affect the fare hike will have on William Street residents. Bertsch said that the shift from a petition to a proposal should emphasize the hall council’s desire to work with the administration, rather than against it.
The Hall Council polled residents on their commuting habits. Of the 416 residents, 88 responded. Nearly all — 97.7 percent of respondents — take the subway to school and 89.8 percent said that they purchase the 30-day unlimited pass.
Bertsch said that as a photo student, he is required to carry a lot of equipment, which makes walking or riding a bike nearly impossibile most days.“I tried walking [to school] once and it took almost an hour,” Bertsch said.
Bertsch said that many residents weren’t entirely aware that a subway ride would be necessary before moving in. “I wasn’t aware,” he said. “I guess I could have been if I had done the research, but I had no idea William Street was so far away.”
Originally the proposal was to be submitted on November 30, but due to delays, miscommunication, and an overall lack of organization on the part of the hall council, the submission date has been repeatedly pushed back.
Linda Reimer, vice president of student services, and Lutomski have not yet seen the proposal and so declined to comment. However, Lutomski said that while he would certainly look at the proposal, when and if he received it, he would not have the authority to act and would therefore defer to Reimer.
“We do room changes all the time,” said Reimer. “If a student is unhappy and we have the space we’ll move them any time during the semester.” Reimer added that it’s easiest to change dorms between semesters. Since the fare hike will happen during the winter break, she suggested that any students who are worried about paying the additional $15 a month for a Metrocard apply for a room change.