Excess beds create space for MassArt students on Simmons Residential Campus


Adriana Arguijo Gutierrez

Simmons Residence Campus.

Julia Rush, Arts & Entertainment Editor

On September 2, 2022 Simmons University Division of Student Affairs sent an email to students living on residential campus announcing that Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) students would be living on the Simmons campus. According to the email, the decision was made after Simmons students given housing assignments last spring, “made changes to their fall housing plans” over the summer, resulting in empty beds on campus. 

The email explains that the MassArt students are residing in North Hall on the fourth and fifth floors and have access to all campus amenities including the Holmes Sports Center, Bartol Hall and the mailroom. The students, which include cisgender men, are accompanied by a Resident Assistant from MassArt who is also living on the Simmons campus. 

Sophie Bredensteiner is a senior living on the first floor of North Hall who says she does not recall receiving communication from Residence Life or Student Affairs about the MassArt students living in their building beyond the September 2 email sent to all campus residents.

 “I wish that there had been some communication over the summer,” Bredensteiner explains. “I know that there are some people in the building who are not comfortable with it,” they said in regard to cisgender male residents. 

Rae-Anne Butera, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Student Experience, said that when the decision was made, her team did not feel the need to send an email specifically to North Hall residents. “We didn’t want to confuse it by sending two of pretty much the exact same message to the North residents,” Butera explains. 

Loui Burke is a Sophomore transfer student attending MassArt who is living on the fourth floor of North Hall and described the process of moving onto Simmons Residence campus as stressful. She explained that for weeks her student ID didn’t have tap access to get into the dining hall or her own residence building on campus. 

“We’re kind of put on the back burner a little bit which I understand because this is not my school,” Burke explains, “but also there’s just like a lack of communication so it’s pretty frustrating.” 

Kayleigh Sorrentino is the MassArt third-year who was sent to be the RA to accompany the students living on Simmons Residential campus. “I didn’t know if there was going to be like any real hostility because there are male residents,” Sorrentino says when she was asked about her adjustment to Simmons’ campus, “but there truly hasn’t been any, so that’s been fantastic.”

After a shaky housing selection process last spring, some students who were waitlisted for on-campus housing made the decision to move off campus for fear there would not be a bed for them. Michelle Bozzi, a Simmons third year in the Sociology 3+1 program, made that decision after being told she had been put on the housing waitlist. 

Bozzi explained that she was given the impression by fellow students that the waitlist would be especially long and felt as if finding off-campus housing through Simmons’ off-campus housing portal was the next step. “I don’t think ResLife necessarily did much to like assuage those fears,” Bozzi says. 

Butera explained that ultimately the decision was made to assist a fellow Colleges of the Fenway school. When asked about how the team rationalized the decision to allow cis male MassArt residents to live on Simmons’ campus she referred to the Simmons University Gender Inclusive Housing Statement.

The Simmons University Gender Inclusive Housing Statement outlines that, “since University Housing is gender inclusive, you may share community or single-use bathrooms with individuals who are of a different biological sex than you or who identify with gender identities that may be different from yours.”

The Voice reached out to the Simmons University Office of Residence Life (ResLife), but the office refused an in-person interview and did not respond to multiple requests for a statement.