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Monday, Mar 4, 2024

With room freeze lifted, students try to move out of Bread Loaf

Sixty-five students began the semester living at Bread Loaf, but several have successfully moved out in recent weeks due to rooms opening up on campus or due to ADA accommodations. 

The college is housing undergraduates at the Bread Loaf campus for the first time to accommodate more than 300 extra students enrolled at the college this fall. ResLife has stressed that moving rooms — typically something available to students due to conflicts with roommates or other needs — will be extremely limited this semester, with priority given to students with ADA/Title IX accommodations and then to students living at Bread Loaf or the Middlebury Courtyard by Marriott. 

In an email to The Campus, AJ Place, associate dean for student life, said ResLife works closely with the Disability Resource Center (DRC) before and during the room draw to ensure that students who need housing accommodations get them. 

If students are experiencing trouble in their rooms, Place said that students should contact their RA or RD. If they reach out to ResLife directly, that is usually where they are pointed. If there is an immediate concern, Place advises reaching out to Public Safety. They should be in touch with different offices for support such as the Civil Rights and Title IX office or the DRC as needed.

There was a room freeze in place during the first weeks of the semester, when students were unable to move to new residences. With the freeze lifted, many students living at Bread Loaf have sought opportunities to move onto campus — and some have been successful. 

When Liv Cohen ’23.5 and Lily Kanady ’23.5 first were assigned rooms in Bread Loaf over the summer, they were stunned. Dean of Students Derek Doucet told them that there were rooms on campus that they had reserved, initially, but would be available in the August draw. They withdrew from their original housing placement and went into the August draw, but Bread Loaf housing was their only option and they were ultimately assigned to smaller rooms at Bread Loaf. 

Kanady had been emailing the school ever since the people she was living with over the summer got some of the last rooms on campus four hours before her slot, and she realized she would probably end up at Breadloaf or the Marriott. She also reached out to her therapist when she got the room draw in August and asked if they could reach out to the school. Then she decided to try to wait it out. 

On Friday, Sept. 24, Kanady and Cohen were able to move to the Chateau. 

“It was like the biggest relief,” Cohen said. 

They lost the incentives offered to students living at Bread Loaf, including the reduced room and board rate, though they still have discounted room and board from the weeks that they did live at Bread Loaf.

Even though Middlebury always has reserved ADA rooms, students using accommodations still feared pushback from their peers for utilizing the resource. 

“It’s tough because you have to put yourself in a position of evaluating how dire your situation is,” Kanady said. “It’s like, I’m really affected day to day by living at Bread Loaf, and it causes me a lot of stress and anxiety. But then it’s almost like you gaslight yourself and it’s like, well, is it really that bad? And it is. It sucks.”

Cohen and Kanady tried to remain positive about the half price for room and board, the shuttle service and the fact that some other people they knew were living in their hall. 

Yet on move-in day, Cohen saw only two students and reality began to set in. Instead of the usual hustle and bustle, it was silent. 

“I was just so taken aback by the feeling of isolation,” Kanady said. 

On weekends, Cohen and Kanady had to coordinate their schedule with the shuttle. Once, Cohen got to the shuttle at 1:30 a.m. and waited until 2 a.m thinking the shuttle was coming late, until realizing it had left ten minutes early, at 1:20 a.m. Another night, the shuttle was so full that people who lived in the Marriott in town had to walk home. 

Cohen said that planning her day became “mental gymnastics.” She felt the loss of little things, such as being able to lie in her bed between classes and changing clothes, as well as losing time coordinating trips back and forth. 

“That’s when it really started setting in that I would have a very different college experience than everyone else,” Cohen said. 

When Cohen talked to Katie Burns, her residence director, she was told that there was nothing she could do in those first two weeks. There was, however, a good chance that she would be able to move after the two week room freeze, as many people who had wanted to get out of Bread Loaf had already been able to do so by moving to the Marriott or Inn on the Green. Burns told her to talk to her dean, who then told her to talk to her RD. Cohen said she mostly got passed from person to person.

Kanady confirmed with her therapist that she needed her to talk to the school. She also sent emails of her own to Place, ADA Coordinator Jodi Litchfield, Doucet and ResLife. Kanady said she did not know who would help her. 

According to Kanady, the school offered her resources and told her to talk to her dean. 

“Living in a community always brings up different values and perspectives and it is important to try to work through conflicts,” Place said. “It’s for this reason that we encourage all students to have open and honest discussions with their roommates(s) about their living styles.”

 Kanady said they avoided her questions. 

“They just scoot by them, and they don’t really answer them, and don’t really do anything about it, but just offer circular answers where it’s just like, ‘please be complacent, please god, just chill out,’ instead of actually helping. I just feel like they don’t care, and it’s really frustrating because I love this place so much, and it’s really disheartening,” Kanady said. 

Kanady went to Litchfield’s office herself. 

“‘Hey, I’m Lily,” Kanady said to Litchifield. “I’ve been emailing you about Bread Loaf, I haven’t gotten a response. I don’t know if you’re super busy, or if it got lost in just everyday life which is totally fine, but I just wanted to come and introduce myself because I need to get out of there.”

Litchfield ultimately emailed Kanady back, who said that if she responded to that email indicating that she wanted a room on campus, ResLife could find a room for her within 24 hours. 

Kanady was initially looking for a double for her and Cohen. The school said that they had a double at Inn on the Green, an off-campus option for students where students still pay the full cost of room and board, or a single in Lang, which Kanady called stifling. She asked for the weekend to think about it, and if there were any other spaces on campus besides Lang. Litchfield followed up after the weekend saying there were two singles on the same floor in the Chateau. 

Now that she lives in the Chateau, Cohen says she can feel the college vibe again. She hears people outside and can text her friends for dinner within a five minute walk.

Kanady said the situation put her in a moral bind, as she knew that other people might need housing for their own emergencies, but that she ultimately took the opportunity.

“I think there are amazing parts of Bread Loaf, and for people that can make it work, it’s awesome. If you’re organized and you don’t mind driving and you like quiet and you’re like a planned person, it totally works,” Cohen said. “But I’m unorganized, very spontaneous, I make all my plans spur of the moment, it just was not working for me.”

Katie Futterman

Katie Futterman '24 (she/her) is a Managing Editor.

Katie previously served as a News Editor and Staff Writer. This past summer, she was a news intern at Seven Days, and she held the same position at the Addison Independent the prior summer. In her free time, she loves to read, write, and bask in the sun.