Middlebury continues to house students off campus at the Inn on the Green for the fall 2022 semester — despite a decrease in overall student enrollment compared to last year — due to insufficient housing on campus.
There are approximately 2,790 students on campus this fall, almost 300 more than a normal year, according to Dean of Students Derek Doucet. Last fall, total enrollment rose to 2,865 students, forcing the college to house students at the Bread Loaf campus in Ripton, the Middlebury Courtyard by Marriott and the Inn on the Green. Those residing at Bread Loaf were able to move back for the spring semester following the graduation of a 190-person Feb class and the departure of additional students heading to spring study abroad programs.
There are 642 students in the class of 2026, a number that matches the projection for enrollment that the Admissions Office made last year. Projected enrollment was 640 students, an increase from that for the class of 2023, whose projected enrollment was 610 to 630 students with 35 expected to request a gap year. The incoming Feb class of 2026.5 will be 120 students, a large group whose arrival will be offset by the larger-than-typical Feb graduating class this winter.
This fall, 13 students are housed at the Inn on the Green, according to an email to The Campus from AJ Place, associate dean of student life. The other properties where Middlebury housed students last year are not currently in use. Residential Life did not expect to assign anyone to the Inn on the Green, but it was necessary given the final number of students on campus this semester, according to Place. The college is offering several incentives to the 13 students housed at the Inn on the Green, although students living there are not all satisfied with the compensation for lost on-campus housing.
“Students living [at the Inn on the Green] are receiving a free parking pass, free laundry service through the student company Wash and Carry, help moving back to campus for the spring and priority housing for spring term,” Place said in an email to The Campus. “Based on current projections, we currently do not expect to need to use Inn on the Green or any other properties for spring term.”
After not being able to find rooms that would fit their housing group because there were only six beds left for the group of seven, Albert Zhao ’24, Ray Chen ’24, Xiuyuan Ge ’24, Benjamin Liu ’24, Horace Ding ’24, Ellen Tong ’24.5 and Jiaan Wang ’24.5 had to wait for August room draw and were placed at the Inn on the Green. Upon moving in, Tong found that the rooms were not cleaned. In a co-authored email sent to Residential Life on August 28 and signed by everyone in the housing group, the students wrote, “The place has been exceedingly unattended to and is in absolutely no shape to be lived in.” Later, facilities came in to address the concerns, deep-cleaning the space for multiple days and switching out an old, broken fridge. Yet, as of press time, the windows remain infested with dead cockroaches and mouse excrement.
“We felt gravely mistreated when last year, the college provided a variety of accommodations such as reduced rents, an early selection process the following year (not just next semester), and free parking to the students placed off-campus,” Tong said.
They were not given discounted room and board on the basis that students who lived there last year were not offered discounts, according to an email Place sent to the group.
Among her friends, most have classes in BiHall and 75 Shannon Street, which she said creates a “20 minutes uphill hike.” Zhao owns a car, but he has been denied a commuter pass or a faculty/staff parking permit twice, which he believes exacerbates current inconveniences. Place wrote, “[The] Inn is the exact same distance to BiHall as other campus houses, like 48 South Street.” Additionally, in response to the parking situation, “Public Safety reviewed [the request and determined that] class year parking is the best option,” Place wrote.
Tong also thinks that housing students at the Inn jeopardizes the community that Middlebury tries to create.
“Along with the rest of the college, we love the community, the college, and every bit of expectation we had when we learnt about the idea of a small liberal arts college. We don't want the very spirit of the community to get sabotaged,” she said.
The Inn on the Green may be used again if projected enrollment for next year changes.
“We do not anticipate using the Inn for the spring term though it remains a possibility,” Doucet said.
Managing Editor Rain Ji ’23 contributed reporting to this article.