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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, April 14, 2024

First-years housed at The Court live in the shadow of The Mods


One hundred members of the Class of 2026 moved into their new dorms at The Court at Professors Row last week. Located on the Vouté Tennis Courts that formerly housed the modular COVID-19 isolation units known as The Mods, The Court is a complex of three buildings that will house 150 first-years and nine resident assistants this fall. 

Although 93 and 95 Professors Row were completed on time for move-in, the opening of 91 Professors Row has been delayed until Sept. 17 due to supply chain issues that have slowed construction. The 50 first-years displaced by the delay will be temporarily housed in Mods E and F on the Vouté Courts until they can move into their rooms.

Constructed over the summer to accommodate Tufts’ growing student body until the completion of a new permanent dorm, The Court buildings are temporary units like The Mods. However, they have common areas and expanded amenities that were missing from The Mods. 

Khin Thu Lwin, a first-year assigned to 91 Professors Row, was initially relieved to hear she would be living in a newly-constructed residence hall. She was disappointed to learn her building was significantly smaller than a typical residence hall, having grown excited about “traditional dorm-style life in a hall with a lot of people.”

“We're paying $9,000 in living costs, but we're not really getting the proper [experience],” Lwin said.

The Office of Residential Life and Learning assured Lwin and her 49 peers living in The Mods until Sept. 17 that they have been “thoroughly cleaned.” ORLL will also compensate each resident of 91 Professors Row with a $250 gift card for the Tufts bookstore and a $250 UberEats voucher. 

Tim Jordan, associate director of residential education, suggested there are some benefits to living in The Court despite the buildings’ temporary nature.

“The Court will offer strong amenities such as air conditioning, study rooms, updated kitchens, and brand new furniture,” Jordan wrote in an email to the Daily. “With the living space and amenities being either similar to or exceeding other first-year offerings, we see The Court as being a great option for students to live in.”

While current sophomores housed in the Hyatt Place hotel last year were offered the most desirable lottery numbers for 2022–2023 housing, Jordan said priority housing lottery numbers will not be offered to residents of The Court. While Hyatt residents were granted preferred lottery numbers due to challenges with transportation and Wi-Fi at the hotel, Jordan said, he does not expect the same issues to affect Court residents given the complex’s central location on campus.

Certain first-years are still upset about their housing assignment. Nearly 200 students have signed an online petition demanding 5% reimbursement of Court residents’ cost of living for the year. The petition describes The Court as “trailer park-like buildings on a tennis court” and claims that some who “will soon live at The Court have been bullied by our peers for living in ‘lesser housing’ and ‘shacks’.” 

Max Edelman, a first-year who started the petition after speaking to other students assigned to live in The Court, said the residence hall comes with unfortunate social stigmas, particularly among older students.

“I've had a bunch of people who I thought were my friends be like, ‘I can’t believe you were put in these,’” Edelman said. “Even parents have started saying things and being like, ‘Oh, you’re in this subpar housing.’”

Jordan responded to the grievances listed in the petition, expressing optimism that students will change their minds once they settle in. 

“We understand that students are apprehensive about these spaces given that they are new and that there is an image our students have of “mods”, but we cannot stress enough that The Court has all of the things our students want in a housing experience,” Jordan wrote. “We encourage students to live in these new buildings before making any judgments, and we think other students will recognize The Court’s advantages once students experience the space.”

Lwin thinks Tufts has done its best to explain the need for The Court and its benefits, and agreed with Jordan that The Court has all the amenities of a traditional residence hall.

Edelman still feels nervous about the transition. 

“I've always been anxious about the move-in because it's a new stage of life,” they said in an interview with the Daily prior to move-in. “I'm supposed to be anxious, but this is extra. It shouldn't be so nerve-wracking.”

Jordan acknowledged students’ concerns and thanked them for their patience. 

“We know that being in a new space can be challenging and bring additional anxieties surrounding a transition to college, we just ask that you trust we have put the time and thought into making these spaces feel like home,” he wrote.