It is no easy task to survive SLC's Housing Games

tweed is just one of many ideal dormitories available to students who run the gauntlet that is slc's housing lottery. photo by m.K. michiels-kibler '17.

tweed is just one of many ideal dormitories available to students who run the gauntlet that is slc's housing lottery. photo by m.K. michiels-kibler '17.

Every April, Sarah Lawrence students incur additional stress as Residence Life sends their annual housing lottery email. All the different rules and regulations can be difficult to understand, especially on top of end of the year conference work. Therefore, in an attempt to make the process easier, here is a breakdown of the housing process:

Sarah Lawrence’s housing system goes by lottery. Every person in each year gets assigned a number from 1-400+. Over the course of three days, with rising seniors going first and rising sophomores going lst, students arrive at Student Affairs at a particular time slot, depending on their number. After seeing which rooms are available, they then enter a line with their desired rooms in mind, tell the housing volunteer which room they want and, if that room is available, that room goes to them. If two or three people from the same class wish to live in a double or triple, the group gets in line with the person with the lowest lottery number.

Often times, if a student feels they have too high of a number, and are not going to find any rooms they want available, they put their name on the guaranteed waitlist. Ordered by class standing and lottery number, the guaranteed waitlist assures that, by August, the college will have found a student a room.

Adam Treitler (’14) received very high number in the lottery during sophomore and junior year and decided to put his name on the guaranteed waitlist rather than going through the aggravating process of trying to find an available room. Both years, he managed to get singles. Although the guaranteed waitlist does not guarantee a single, Residence Life does work “with the student's preferences to make assignments as spaces become available.”

Additionally, we are not the only college that uses a lottery to place their students in housing.  Barnard, Hamilton and Rutgers are just a few of the local colleges and universities that also employ a housing lottery.

However, this does not apply to every college. Stony Brook University on Long Island, for example, has a housing system based on seniority and what room you are in. If you want to keep your room, you have first pick and get to do so. If you want to change rooms but be in the same building, you have second pick. If you want to change buildings but be in the same quad, you have third pick. Finally, if you want to completely change quads, you have last pick.

“You can imagine the headache,” said Jessica Borukhova, a senior at Stony Brook University. “I rather [would do a] lottery.”

Not everybody is a fan of the lottery system. “I hate that they make us wait in anticipation for our lottery number,” said Brenda Alvarez (’16). “Instead of letting them out all at once, they should put them out few at a time like senior one day, juniors another etc. that way myslc [sic] doesn’t crash,” referencing the countless MySLC crashes that occur only when classes are posted and lottery numbers go up.

There is one way, however, to get out of the housing lottery and that is to apply for group housing.  Every year a certain number of apartments, adjoined rooms and houses are available across campus to petition for group housing, ranging from two occupants to eight occupants.  There is a type of lottery with group housing as well. The committee takes each person’s number and subtracts 100 points if there are a rising senior and 75 points if they are a rising junior.

Example: Rising senior Frank with lottery number 152 wants to do a group petition for adjoined singles with rising junior John with lottery number 200. Their group lottery number is 177 because (152-100) + (200-75) = 177.

Unfortunately those who do not succeed in receiving a petitioned house will have to participate in the individual housing lottery with the majority of the student body.

Students coming back from studying abroad have the option of petitioning with a group or filling out a form on MySLC for individual petition where they list their preferences for housing. A housing lottery volunteer picks that person’s room on the night of their class’ lottery. If none of the preferences are available, that student is put on the guaranteed waitlist.

Then there is the exception to the lottery: Warren Green. To live in SLC’s first sustainable house, you need to fill out an application, explaining why you want to live there. Should you be selected by SLC’s Sustainability Committee, you are required to follow a select series of guidelines.

Lastly, the housing for Resident Advisors (RA) is completely different from the rest of the student body. Once a student is told they will be an RA, they sit tight and wait for their housing assignment, not having a choice.

“We can say like “I work better with freshmen”, but that doesn’t mean we will get placed with them,” explained Elizabeth Emery (’15), currently RA of Titsworth.

The housing process is a bit like the Hunger Games with everyone rushing to the second floor of Bates and trying to beat everybody else to “win” the best room. So, as the end of April approaches, Happy Housing Games and may the odds be ever in your favor!

by Mary Kekatos '15


SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

Remembering SLC Alumna Lesley Gore '68

Photo by Linda Wheeler for The Washington Post. Via Sarah Lawrence College Archives.

Photo by Linda Wheeler for The Washington Post. Via Sarah Lawrence College Archives.

Singer, feminist and SLC alumna, Lesley Gore '68, most notable for her chart-topping sixties hits “It’s My Party” and “You Don't Own Me”, died on Feb. 16, after a long battle with lung cancer. She was sixty-eight years old. 

Crying at your own party just because you feel like it is a pretty revolutionary concept for a song, in an era where lovey dovey ballads were filling up the airwaves. “It’s my party and I´ll cry if I want to” became a fixed phrase and a song which shook up the creative standard that American pop culture of the early sixties was so accustomed to. Not only did the jampacked two-minute expression of teen angst speak to millions, but it was also authentic. Because the girl on stage singing the heartbreak anthem was herself only sixteen. 
Up until the release of her first record in 1963, Lesley Gore, born Lesley Sue Goldstein, grew up in the remote suburb of Tenafly, New Jersey. Like her fans, she suffered through the penitentiary for bratty teens and brace faces better known as high school until she was discovered by music producer Quincy Jones. Gore became an overnight sensation, or as she used to explain, “had risen to fame in a week”, since “It’s My Party” was released only seven days after being recorded and promptly reached the top of the charts thereafter. 

She continued to build on her success with “You Don't Own Me”, a feminist pop song that was a call for women to emancipate. With lyrics such as “ I'm not one of your many toys” or “to live my life the way I want”, Gore was performing a song tailored to the zeitgeist of the time, in which women were beginning to publicly speak out on gender inequality.

Women constitute more than half of the population. In 2008, 60% of voters were women. It is estimated that 10 million more women than men will vote in this election. Despite this, women make up only 16% of Congress. Women earn only 70 cents to each dollar men make.

Even though she had become the most successful female solo artist of the sixties, Gore didn't see her record success as a guarantee for a stable career. She decided to go to college at the height of her fame and later explained her decision based on “the unpredictable nature of the fickle business” she was in. 

Although she felt good about attending Sarah Lawrence, she certainly wasn't looked up to for being a celebrity. The vibe that met her on campus was not one of great enthusiasm for her music. As she explained, “It was not necessarily the time to be a rock n roller at Sarah Lawrence. It was all about folk singers”. Her celebrity status did however interfere with her life at school. In 1964 she was awarded the “Janet Auchincloss Modest Celebrity Award”. 

Being a celebrity and a college student at the same time was often challenging for the singer. As a freshman in an interview with Life magazine she was “asked about the food at school”, after pondering an answer she called it “a little disappointing”. Later, after the article had appeared, she was called into the Dean’s Office to apologize to the head dietician who was completely “demoralized” by her comment. 

Initially she chose the school for its theatre department but found it too experimental and not suitable enough for her pursuits. Instead she tried out filmmaking. One of her first assignments was to get a three minute shot of someone falling down the stairs. “You lose a lot of friends that way, especially when the footage doesn't come out the first time and you have to call them back to reshoot it”.

In the end though she cherished her time at college, graduating in 1968 with a concentration in British and American literature. Later reflecting on her experience she said "the campus was kind of like a haven for me. A beautiful school and an excellent philosophy. They treat women like human beings, and they were doing that back then. It felt really good to […] feel good being a woman, and Sarah Lawrence had a lot to do with helping me feel that way."

After graduating she continued to pursue a career as a musician but was unable to attain the same level of success as during her teenage years. She did however branch out into different occupations, later working as a songwriter. She earned herself an Academy Award nomination for the song “Out Here on My Own” from the movie “Fame,” in 1980. 

She often went around touring and singing her old hits and even though she made a good living from being on the nostalgia circuit, she wanted to achieve more. She fulfilled her lifelong dream by starring on Broadway in 1999 with “Smokey Joe’s Cafè” and later in 2005 released her most personal album, “Ever Since”. 

At the same time she publicly came out as gay and started taking on a prominent role as an activist for Feminism and Gay rights. Anna Nemetz ('17) who recently covered “You Don't Own Me” at a campus event described Gore’s music as “empowering and meaningful to women, even in todays day and age”. 

It is safe to say that many people feel that way about Gore’s music. A PSA video, created by the Department of Peace in 2013 to promote women’s voting and reproductive rights, showed women powerfully singing along to the proto-Feminist hit. 

She may be gone and her songs may be considered classics, but the issues she addresses in them seem to be ever more present, which is why Sarah Lawrence’s princess of teen angst won’t be leaving the spotlight anytime soon. 

by Jennifer Sperber ‘18

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

Ask an RA: Ray Schechter answers your burning questions about living at SLC

Ray Schechter '15 is not only a superstar RA, but also one of the most hilarious people you'll ever meet. Here, she answers the questions incoming first-years are dying to ask.

Ray Schechter '15 is not only a superstar RA, but also one of the most hilarious people you'll ever meet. Here, she answers the questions incoming first-years are dying to ask.

Despite all of our guides about first-year life that we have published, there are a lot of questions that I’m sure we were unable to answer. The list goes on and on of worries for that first day of college. So, in order to answer some of your burning questions, The Phoenix has recruited the help of veteran RA and senior Ray Schecter to get you in the know for the vague scenarios and issues that you might have.

Nervous First-year: How can I make move-in day run as smoothly as possible?

Ray Schecter: Move-in day is the most exciting event all year for the residence life staff. They look forward to it all summer so everyone you interact with will most likely be shitting sunshine anyway. To make the day go even smoother, you should take a deep breath, kiss your parents goodbye, and internalize the fact that this is the first day of the rest of your life.

NF: What do I do if I catch my roommate masturbating? Alternatively, what do I do if I have to masturbate?

RS: Masturbate! You’re in fucking college you can do whatever the hell you want.

NF: How infrequently can I shower and still be socially presentable at SLC?

RS: I had a friend tell me once, “it’s been six whole days since I’ve showered.” This was NOT during conference week, it was just a regular day during the semester. I remember looking at him and thinking, “damn, your individuality is sexy as hell.” Maybe this means six days is the limit, I’m not sure. Interpret this story as you will.

NF: What do I do if I hate my roommates?

RS: Here is a short list of procedural steps for the situation that is NOT AS BAD AS YOU THINK:

a.) Voice your opinion. If you don’t say anything about a problem you’re having with your roommate, how will you solve anything?

b) After talking about your points of conflict decide on specific things you can both do to prevent these problems.

c.) If your roommate is not receptive to your angelic voice or your rooming problems, TALK TO YOUR R.A. They have many hours of training in this exact situation. Use this resource as your guiding light.
    d.) If your R.A. isn’t receptive for some weird reason, the next step is to talk to the director of residence life.

e.) You’ll be fine (by the way). Worst comes to worst, if you have a roommate you don’t get along with, residence life will help you find a new one. Remember everything is temporary. You’ll be FINE.

NF: Ugh I got a triple room -- is it possible for me to coexist with two other people?

RS: Um triple? Can you say THREESOME? No, no just kidding I wouldn’t endorse having a threesome—this causes undesirable tension in the living space (learned that one from experience). If you get a triple, or even a double for this matter, make sure to voice your opinion on things that are important to you in your living space. This is the only way your roommates will be on the same page as you to set the vibe of your room.

NF: I’m a neat-freak but my roommate is a pig. What do I do?

RS: This question I seem to have answered already. If you have a strong opinion about the standards of your living space, voice it in the beginning of the year. If it is a shared space among many young peeps, it’s tricky but you got it. Make your opinions strong and clear. Remember compromise is your friend. Listen to your roommates just like they will listen to you. DO NOT WORRY!

NF: Where’s the best place on campus to get a cup of coffee?

RS: Your own kitchen.

NF: Will upperclassmen make fun of me if I ask them for directions?

RS: Upperclassmen won’t make fun of you in general. They are looking for friends just as much as you are. When I stepped onto SLC campus as a first-year I asked two juniors how to get to Hill House. They walked me across campus to my apartment and I continue to be friends with them to this day. Give the kindness you think you ought to receive. That is just general advice. You’re welcome.

NF: How do I get the key to my room on the first day of school?

RS: You will receive your key when you check-in at the library on the first day! Don’t lose it. It [costs] money for a replacement.

NF: How do I make friends?

RS: Just be yourself! If you came to Sarah Lawrence to study and learn, you will make friends here. There are also a lot of crazy clubs and sports here to spark interest in things you might have in common with other people. If you feel like you’re not making friends and you’re anxious about it, you should check out Health Services. They have a lot of ears there and a lot of time to listen.

NF:  How do I make friends if I’m super super super shy/weird/awkward?

RS: Coming from the shyest person on campus, I can say I’ve experienced this at SLC. I know a crazy senior who is a redhead. She can help you. Find her and say “I Want friends.” She will point you in the right direction.

NF: SLC is supposed to be super-hip and trendy. What should I wear? Will people judge me if I don’t look cool enough?

RS: Secret to being cool: you are cool. Wear whatever you want! Be who you are! People will follow.

NF: Everyone at SLC is so artsy. What if I don’t write/sing/act/dance/paint?

RS: Do something you enjoy. This makes you artsy.

NF: Real talk, which dining hall is the best and what should I eat there?

RS: There’s only one dining hall that is truly a dining hall, making it the best and worst dining hall on campus. Bates. My suggestion is to get creative. But it is good in the beginning of the year, so you’re fine.


Ray Schechter '15 interviewed by Wade Wallerstein '17 &

Welcome to your new home! Take a tour of SLC's residence halls

photo courtesy Ellie Brumbaum '17

photo courtesy Ellie Brumbaum '17

One of the most annoying things that Sarah Lawrence fails to inform incoming students about is dormitory situations. They tell you what room you will be living in and how many roommates you will have, but there is no real way to see the space that you will be living in. Never fear! The Phoenix is here with a photo tour of Sarah Lawrence residences! We've included photos of as many of the dorms that incoming students will occupy as possible—many of which have students in them to help you visualize yourselves in your new homes. Welcome to SLC, folks!

Hill House

Hill House dorms are apartment style. All have kitchens, bathrooms, and multiple bedrooms. While some have common rooms, some do not. 

New Dorms (Rothschild, Garrison, & Tweed)

New dorms are closer to the traditional dormitory style of most college campuses. These buildings are modern with rooms lining both sides of long hallways. These rooms are non-adjoining and have their own closets. While Rothschild has apartments similar to those of Hill House with their own bathrooms, Garrison and Taylor have communal bathrooms at the end of each hallway.

Old Dorms (MacCracken, Titsworth, Dudley Lawrence, & Gilbert)

It's hard to capture the charm of these residence halls. They are old, but full of stories. Each room is a slightly different shape. The pictures above come from Titsworth, the all female building, but Dudley Lawrence, MacCracken, and Gilbert (substance free housing) are similar. Unlike the new dorms, theThere are no hall bathrooms in these buildings: instead, rooms are paired together with bathrooms that connect them. This means that you only share a bathroom with your roommates and the residents of the room next to yours. 


Ellie Brumbaum

Ellie Brumbaum

The residence hall in Westlands has some of the most unique rooms on campus. They feature all wood floors and funky architecture that makes for cozy corners and excellent study spaces. This hall is substance free, quiet housing and has communal hall bathrooms.


Lynd is, in my opinion, the most beautiful dorm on campus. Many of the rooms used to shelve books for the mansion that Lynd was converted from. This dorm is famously known as the "Yoko Ono Dorm" because she lived here during her time at SLC. It has beautiful mahogany wood paneling and flooring, and is right across from Sarah Lawrence's green house.

by Wade Wallerstein
twitter: b0yratchet
ig: boyratchet


SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

Nervous about moving in? Here's what you should bring for the best move-in day ever

photo courtesy Chris Taggart

photo courtesy Chris Taggart

We are quickly approaching the excitement of Move-In Day – a day that can seem daunting when facing the challenging task of deciding what to pack. “You don’t need to bring as much as you think you do,” explained Connor Simcox ‘16, “you want to bring a bunch of books from home because they look nice or you want to read them, but you only ever end up flipping through one or two.” Within the first few weeks of school your book collection will have doubled, adapting to your new tastes and your curriculum. “Just bring the books that might work well as reference material,” he said.

It is important that you acclimate yourself easily to your new home, and to do so you should bring familiar objects with you. “Things I was happiest to have brought were things from my childhood, like books that I had already read, my dad’s pillows or a pair of my mom’ socks, just to remind me that I was home,” said Aly Tippett ‘16.

You should buy tape to stick things on your walls that remind you of home (tacks are not allowed). “Bring photographs of your family, of your friends, of your pets, and of the neighborhood café that was the site of so many high school study sessions. Keep those people and those places with you. They are your foundation, they are what brought you to who, and where you are now,” said Sophie Needleman ‘16

You will also need a few essentials to make your life a little easier throughout the year. “Shower shoes for communal bathrooms and a robe will save your life,” said Katya Goncalves ‘16. In addition, bring “a fan, and slippers so you can walk around comfortably,” said Tippett. The beds at Sarah Lawrence are twin-sized, so bring a comforter, bed linens and two pillows sized for your new bed. Your new room will be smaller than what you are accustumed to, so you have to make the most out of the little space you have. Bring clothing hangers for your closet, bed risers and storage containers for your shoes and some of your clothes to nicely sit under your bed. Some of the rooms are not furnished with lamps, so try to bring a desk lamp and a larger lamp. The desk lamp will come in handy when you will need to work late nights and your roommate is sleeping and the larger lamp will bring some warmth to your new home. Typically, the lamps that the school gives you (if you have one in your room) will have a bright white light that is disagreeable. We recommend you bring yellow-tinted light bulbs to bring a comforting glow to your room.  Add to the list a full length mirror and a rug. The rug will make your room more cozy. If you live in the new dorms where the floors are bare and quickly get dirty, a rug is essential. If you live in Hill House, most rooms have a carpet thus a rug will not be necessary. You should also bring an over-the-door hanger; it is a great way to save space and a practical spot to keep your coat, robe and towel. To maximize space in your bathroom, you should bring a shower rack to easily transport everything you need.

Laundry will probably be the more challenging task as a freshman, but you will only need two things: detergent and a small laundry bag that you can easily carry up and down stairs. Try to buy one large case of detergent with your roommates, you will always end up borrowing each others.

When it comes to school supplies, do not forget to bring a hard drive or a small USB stick (depending on how much storage space you need) to backup your work. You do not want to risk losing all your notes and homework during conference week. The school’s bookstore sells binders, folders, paper and writing utensils but you should only use the bookstore for things that are urgent because it can be quite pricey. You can also splurge on some Sarah Lawrence merchandise if you want to; however, there is a Staples near campus that offers more choices for a better value. You also do not need to bring your own printer. Printers are available in almost every dorm. You can also print in the library, at the Pub, in Heimbold, or Slonim. On your first day, you will receive a lot of “printing money”  on your One-Card. This money does not roll-over from year to year, so make the most of it (in other words, use it all!). For late night studying do not forget to bring a coffee mug. Refills at the pub will be less expensive and it is ultimately better for the environment to use a mug instead of paper cups.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, remember that it is “better to under pack than to over pack, as the year goes by you will have a better idea of what you need. You can build off that,” said Ramisha Sumar ‘15. You also happen to live five minutes away from both Cross County Shopping Center and downtown Bronxville where you will be able to purchase almost anything that you need. Most importantly remember to “bring your big heart and bring your wisdom,” said Needleman. Within your first few hours you will meet a lot of people who are willing to help you get anything you might need. If your parents are not with you to help, most likely one of your roommates will have a parent that is more than willing to help you get everything you need, from additional storage space to food. The biggest move-in essential is a calm mind and positive attitude.

by Julia Schur '15
Managing Editor


SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.

'A Culture Built Around Smoking': smokers weigh in on the ban

From an article written by Lauren Gray '16 and published in the Phoenix on April 7, 2014:

On February 10, 2014, President Karen Lawrence sent an email to the entire campus community formally announcing the new Smoke-Free Policy that the college is set to begin implementing in August 2015. The decision was the result of a recommendation made by the Smoking Policy Task Force, an Ad-Hoc Committee chaired by Polly Waldman, after a ten-month long examination process that began in April 2012.  

Student publications outside of the Phoenix have touched upon a number of issues with the ban, including an eloquent editorial by Emily Rogers '15 for SLCSpeaks that illuminates its passage through Student Senate and the implications that will have in the governing of Sarah Lawrence. 

The smoking ban is a complicated issue: there's no singular problem or voice that can sum up smokers' experience at Sarah Lawrence. This series of interviews attempts to combine the narratives of Sarah Lawrence's smokers and illuminate the role they plays in our school's culture. Each smoker at Sarah Lawrence has a different reason for why they reach for a cigarette. It's a personal act, often leading to a moment of reflection or starting a conversation. These portraits capture the students as they smoked and reflected on what smoking meant to them. Each student was asked four questions:

  • What would you say your primary reason for smoking is?
  • How has smoking affected the quality of your social life at Sarah Lawrence?
  • What is your opinion of the smoking ban, either in implementation or the way in which it was passed? How will the smoking ban impact your experience at Sarah Lawrence, either as a smoker or as a student/resident?
  • Do you think smoking is a part of Sarah Lawrence culture?

Agatha Monasterios-Ramirez '17

"I enjoy smoking. It’s the same as when I make a cup of coffee — because I feel like it."

"I think it’s not going to work the way the administration hopes it will, but whatever. People are still gonna smoke."

"I really think it’ll have zero effect. Like, that’s the problem. It’s not going to change anything. No one’s going to care. It’s a part of every culture. I think people will still smoke even if they aren’t allowed to. It’s a big part of a lot of people’s lives. A lot of people come here and start smoking, but a lot of people come here and are already smoking. I just feel like the smoking ban is so minuscule in importance to the students. If nobody smoked [because of the ban] there definitely would be a difference, but that’s not gonna happen. It’s not gonna happen anywhere. Sarah Lawrence attracts a certain type of person, and often it’s the type of person who smokes. That can’t be denied."

Nachi Conde-Farley '14

"[Smoking] is a form of self-medicating because I have a lot of anxiety issues. I like the social aspect of it, of course. There’s a little bit of a gift economy involved - you can just go up to someone and ask for a light and have a conversation with them, or ask for a cigarette. And when you bum out to someone that’s an altruistic action. A lot of the time I meet people by sharing a cigarette at the pub or bumming a cigarette to someone outside the library and talking about my conference work. So it’s almost like a little snapshot type conversation I can have with someone: you smoke a cigarette, say hi, check-in, and connect with people. Overridingly, though, [I smoke] because I’m anxious. And I’m addicted at this point."

"I think that [the ban] speaks to the general climate that the administration puts out. They really don’t care for the democratic input of students... I see that the process that they went through to push this through was very undemocratic, despite the grievances of students and the Student Senate, who spoke out against this. This ban is something that could be feasible at UC Irvine, where Karen Lawrence used to be the chancellor* and where most of the students live off-campus. [At UC Irvine] it’s more like once when you go to school, you’re entering a professional space.

"Here, the campus is our home space, and [that means] a ban really won’t work here. There’s also been concerns from a number of community members about smoking indoors, which is another fire hazard and will create even more tension between smokers and non-smokers. Ultimately, if people are stuffed indoors smoking, it’s just going to create conflict."

Staff Note: Karen Lawrence's official title was Dean of the School of Humanities at University of California, Irvine.

Colleen O'Connor '15

"I think [smoking is] a reasonless activity. I don’t really have a solid reason. It’s not like I smoke for any purpose... I just do. Killing time, measuring breaths."

"All of the taglines [the school] sent us are so horrifying. They have this assumption of what 'health' is. 'Health for All' and 'Be Healthy'? You have to be respectful of everyone’s personal habits, smokers included. You can’t force students to change their lifestyles when they come here. That will make even more people uncomfortable."

"It’s part of the culture just because it’s something that people here do. It’s like anywhere. Anywhere you go, people are smoking outside of building. There are so many professors who have bummed cigarettes from me and it’s led to some great conversations. The conversations that I’ve had with Shahnaz Rouse—casual, outside of class conversation—about class are wonderful. [That type of conversation] levels out the difference between professors and students. It brings us together and allows us to casually interact. I had this shitty conference work last year for my film class, and we were all assigned to make videos in outside groups. I was working with one other girl and my professor, Robin Starbuck, and we did all the projections for the Chekhov play that they were putting on in the PAC. We would all go outside and smoke cigarettes and bitch about how shitty it was that we had to do the work. It was something that we all did together and it really unified us."

Naomi Brenman '17

"I made 80 to 90% of my friends during the first few months of school outside Hill House smoking. Period. I think it was just a way to meet people.

“It seemed like there was a 'conversation,' but I didn’t feel like it was actually a conversation. They were like, 'hey guys, what do you think,' but didn’t listen to what anyone said. People are still gonna smoke. If that means that hordes of kids are gonna have to sit on Kimball, because it’s not technically on campus, then they’ll do that. Or people will smoke in their rooms. If [administration is] saying it’s to be healthier, it’s not going to change the mind of anyone who already smokes, because anyone who’s ever smoked cigs knows it’s bad for them. It’s not a myth. I went to the Health Center the other day, and they were like, ‘oh, are you going to quit?’ and I was like, ‘no, now’s not the right time,’ and they were like, ‘well, you know it’s bad…’ and I was like, ‘yes, I’ve been to health class, it’s not a mystery to me.’

Blair Bird '17

"[My primary reason for smoking is] anxiety. It’s my time to relax and take deep breaths. I smoke by myself, it’s not just when I’m with other people. I’m at that point where I get headaches if I don’t smoke."

"I haven’t heard about the ban at all except through emails. If they talked to us about it and why they think this campus will benefit by being a non-smoking campus, what the pros are, then that would be way more helpful than these e-mails saying ‘on this date you won’t be able to smoke anymore.’ And then I think that it’s just irritating. If it was more personal I think the ban would be something that I could get behind and take more seriously. Now, every time I read the emails, I just think woah, that’s not happening. I’m a smoker, I smoke."

"One of the first things that my RA told me when I got here was that the majority of her friends didn’t smoke freshman year, and now they smoke. It’s not even like they smoke occasionally, they smoke heavily. I smoked before I came here, but I know a lot of people who didn’t smoke before they came here but have since gotten in to the habit."

Andrea Rogers '16

"[I smoke to] take the edge off. Honestly, having a moment of peace and quiet during the day.  You can kind of just walk away and take a five minute break from the bustling world."

"[The smoking ban] flew pretty under the radar, especially from people who are not deeply involved in student associations, which I didn’t appreciate. I also really understand where [the administration] is coming from, because most campuses are moving towards being smoke free - similar to parks and public spaces, especially in the state of New York. I think it’s a totally reasonable move. There must be things put in place around campus to address that a good percentage of the student population does in fact smoke — giving everyone tickets if they’re on campus and smoking is not going to be very efficient for security or for students."

Jomana Abdullah '16

"My parents [are the primary reason I smoke]. They’ve been smoking for 13 years, but they smoke hookah, not cigarettes. They smoke about two or three times a day for about an hour and a half. It’s a cultural thing, at least from my dad’s side, so I just got into it like that. I never used to smoke cigarettes before. It’s a pretty annoying habit."

"If you feel awkward with people, you can say ‘let’s smoke a cigarette,’ and if you’re smoking it’s a distraction tool. Que mas—I feel like also if you’re not smoking it’s a judgment here too. It’s kind of sad. I tried quitting."

"I love [the smoking ban]. Oh yeah. I don’t like to see butts on the tulips, you know?"

"I think [smoking] is this kind of grungy, hipster-ish mode of fashion. People feel very much obliged to accommodate that here. It’s a fashionable thing here."

Draye Wilson '14

“I smoke probably because of stress. It’s kind of a ritual. It’s not as much, ‘oh, I feel stressed, I have to smoke now,’ it’s more of a habit. But like, I can’t really articulate a motivation behind it.”

“People talk about it like it’s this very social thing, like it’s a way to meet people and make friends, but like… I don’t really think it is. I quit smoking for like 6 or 7 months, and the quality of my social life didn’t change at all.”

“I think the smoking ban is kinda silly, just because it doesn’t seem to be a majority rule. Conversationally, I haven’t heard anyone push for it. Like, I would like to hear the argument… I have never heard someone articulate the reason why our system now … I don’t really know who’s suffered from how it is now. I really don’t think people are going to follow it. People will still smoke in their rooms, and it’s like… so people aren’t going to smoke outside? People don’t follow the rules in terms of smoking, so I don’t think it’s going to make that much of a difference.”

Thomas Batuello '17

“At this point, I really really enjoy smoking. It’s something that gives me immense pleasure. I’m definitely addicted, so if I don’t have it, I stress out. Usually I reach for cigarettes for pleasure, sometimes I want one if I’m anxious, or feeling stressed out, but it’s usually just for the enjoyment of smoking.”

“I definitely have met a lot of people, at the beginning [of the year] especially, outside of Hill House smoking cigarettes. A lot of people I became acquainted with by virtue of we were all outside smoking. It doesn’t get any deeper than meeting people though.”

“I can’t imagine the smoking ban working particularly well. It depends on how tightly they enforce it, and how virulent the security guards are.”

“It seems like there’s definitely a higher percentage of smoker than just an average cross section of young people in the United States. I think there’s definitely a smoking culture here, and part of it is the artsy fartsy liberal arts school vibe. There’s definitely a large community of smokers here, but I think if I didn’t smoke it wouldn’t adversely affect my experience here. I haven’t heard of anyone complaining that not being a smoker is hurting their social life in any way.”

Jordan Martin '16

“I started smoking when I was 17, the summer before my senior year of high school. It was because a friend of mine had started kind of smoking, so I started doing it as well and picked it up. Honestly, in a sad sense, there was like a weird depression, or some sadness that I was going through, and smoking was kind of a way to relieve stress and fill a certain void. And when I started buying my own packs, which at the time I did think was so cool, I was like ‘oh, this is so different, my parents don’t smoke, no one supports this…’ completely trying to rebel and do something that was so uncharacteristic of me, because I don’t think anybody was expecting me to start smoking. I didn’t ever think of it until I started hanging out with a certain friend.”

“There’s such a culture built around smoking, and it’s become such a social thing. I think that there are probably more social smokers here than there are people that are actually truly addicted to cigarettes and will just have them on their own. I’m one of those people, I’ll just go out and have one by myself, I don’t need to be talking to people to go out and have a smoke or whatever. It definitely is such an aspect to the school, people love their cigarettes and have conversations, and that’s a way to approach people. People literally strike up conversations, and it starts with something as simple as like, ‘can I borrow a lighter?’ and that’s how people meet. It’s such a part of the culture here.”

“The smoking ban does make sense, as much as they’re trying to cut back on smoking on this campus and the policy that they’ve had in effect so far has not been working. So I understand that it’s something that affects the entire school, and secondhand smoke causes a lot of issues, obviously. This campus is enveloped in a cloud of smoke constantly, so it’s affecting people that don’t smoke, and don’t want to be around that. I think it’s fair to those people that they shouldn’t have to constantly be walking around clouds of smoke, inhaling it, breathing it, smelling it, and so I’m not fully against [the ban]. It’s going to be a hassle and it’s going to be annoying for me, but I think one of the biggest issues is that people are going to start smoking more inside their rooms. And that’s going to cause a lot of issues as far as having to enforce that rule and to focus more on getting people outside of the campus to smoke. That’s going to be a really huge deal. And speaking as an RA this year, I know a lot of responsibility is going to fall on them. I know a lot of RAs are probably going to have a difficult time with that, dealing with having their advisees smoking inside. But I think that [the ban] makes a lot of sense and it is fair to people who don’t want to be around that, because [secondhand smoke is] something that we shouldn’t be forcing upon our students.”

“Smoking does bring people together, in that you see a group of people smoking a cigarette and go up and strike up a conversation. And people – not necessarily form bonds over it – but there is like, you know, ‘oh, do you want to go out and have a cigarette with me?’ or whatever, and that’s how people interact. And on weekends, running into people on nights out, seeing people you just want to have a cigarette with them, you just want to have a conversation with them, it often happens while you’re sharing a cigarette, or both of you are smoking at the same time. I think it is something that is really so ingrained in the culture here at school."

Alia Shinbrough '14

Alia Shinbrough '14

"I’m addicted."

"I’ve met a lot of people either through bumming cigarettes or bumming them cigarettes. And I’ve had a lot of conversations over cigarettes that have really helped me in my life here.  I’ve made friends who have helped me in my time here through those conversations."

"I think it was a little skeevy that [the administration] passed [the smoking ban] without getting too much student input, but I understand the reasons why they did that. If they had gotten student input I think that the ban would not have passed."

"We have a lot of students here who smoke and I mean that is pretty much a part of the culture. It’s part of the library culture. It’s part of the pub culture. It’s what starts people talking to each other. We’re an awkward bunch of people and without that substitute I think there might be a problem with people getting to know each other."

Written and photographed by Ellie Brumbaum '17

Students voice thoughts on security

Photo by Ellie Brumbaum '17

Photo by Ellie Brumbaum '17

Security at Sarah Lawrence has always been a topic of debate among SLC students. Sometimes they will break up parties and sometimes they will turn a blind eye. Sometimes the shuttle will come and sometimes it does not show up. When asked for their thoughts on security, student responses also fell on these extremes. Security is neither friend nor foe here at SLC.

Jeremy Lipsin ’15, reported that he had some friendly encounters with Security Guards on campus. As someone who works in Admissions, he has had friendly exchanges with Security. “I work the front desk sometimes as a tour guide,” Lipsin clarified. “Just today the security guard next to me and I had a bonding moment in which we both shared a bag of chips.”

Lipsin also spoke of a time when Security came to address a noise complaint at an apartment in Hill House, where he and his friends were having a karaoke party. “Apparently, one of the neighbors complained and sent security over to shut us up. After he passed on the message, he walked away with a ‘Nice singing, though!’”

 Lipsin concluded with this final thought: “Security can either be ridiculously strict or completely chill. It really depends on who they are or the time of day; not who you are or whatever you might be up to.”

Other students, however, have not had the same set of positive experiences as Lipsin has. One female student I spoke with, who wishes to remain anonymous, claims that a driver for the van into Bronxville sexually harassed her. “Last semester I honestly did not feel very safe on campus, especially after the incident with that shuttle driver. He didn't seem to understand boundaries, and what it means when someone says, ‘no thank you.’”

She had taken him up on an offer he has with SLC students where he drives them to the airport, an experience that has made her feel even more unsafe. “It felt weird having to give him my phone number, too. The fact that this guy not only drove the Bronxville shuttle, which I take often, but also had my phone number and could get access into my dorm made me feel uneasy ever since that incident.” The student did not go into detail about the nature of the incident, but she was visibly shaken and uneasy while talking about it.

The anonymous student had other grievances, though, saying, “He is not the only one I am disappointed with though. I have seen a few security guards or maintenance workers (not sure which ones they were) steal food from the pub […] I have also had many negative experiences when being picked up in Bronxville. Too many times have I waited for the shuttle and it doesn't arrive at all, even after calling Westlands.”

She explained that she carries the schedule with her, and knows the times when the shuttle should arrive. “I know when the shuttle should be arriving, yet, a lot of times it never arrives at all. I don't feel like I can rely on them anymore.” Sometimes, she has had to resort to paying for a cab back to campus out of frustration. “Other students who have waited with me feel the same frustration as I do and we were very upset.” She ended our conversation with the question, “Why should I have to pay for a cab when I am given the right by the school to take a shuttle that is free and SHOULD be reliable [sic]?”

To get further clarification regarding Security at Sarah Lawrence, Larry Hoffman- the Head of Security, answered a few questions regarding security on campus.

How does one become a security guard here?

First of all, all candidates interested in a position as SLC Security officer must be certified by NYS.  Then they go through a rigorous selection process here which usually includes a minimum of three interviews.  A complete background check is done on each officer.  During the interview process, candidates are questioned as to how they would react in specific situations.  We often use role-playing to see how they would react in stressful situations.  Once a new officer is hired, they are assigned to be with a supervisor or an experienced officer for several weeks before they can patrol on their own.

Do security guards have a handbook or set guidelines to follow?

Security officers have standard operating procedures they must follow.  They also receive 40 hours of training each summer.  Some of the training includes the following: emergency planning, first Aid, CPR, automatic external defibrillators, college rules, regulations, security procedures, report writing, accident investigations, fire safety, crime prevention, NYS Laws, domestic violence, sexual assault, and customer service.

How do you respond to allegations made against security guards? Is there a formal procedure in place should a student file a complaint?

Students would come to Operations to file an official complaint.  Each and every complaint is thoroughly investigated.  Disciplinary action up to and including termination can occur if the complaint is found to be valid.

How do you think the students feel about security on this campus?

I think most of our students feel safe with the professional and customer service oriented jobs that our officers perform at the college.  Students also feel comfortable in coming to them when they need assistance.  It is my belief that when officers have to take enforcement actions like giving out tickets to students, our students realize they are just doing their jobs and do not take it personally.

Security here at SLC is just like any other function of the administration: it is complicated and many students have varied opinions on Security as a whole. Some students are friends with the guards – and have great experiences with them – while others have had worrisome interactions with the guards that prove that maybe it is more than students’ “taking it personally,” as Hoffman states. 

by Rachel Molland '15

Department of Education representatives visit campus to hear concerns over sexual assault

Graphic by Lexie Brown '17

Graphic by Lexie Brown '17

TRIGGER WARNING: This article mentions sexual assault and rape

At 2 PM on April 2, about 15 students attended a meeting with representatives of the Department of Education. The two representatives, John Collins and Anna Moretto Cramer came to Sarah Lawrence to investigate the college’s adherence to Title IX, a clause in the Education Amendment of 1972 that bans discrimination on the basis of sex in educational institutions.

The representatives plan on having another open meeting at SLC, most likely during the week of April 28. They are considering holding two meetings in the afternoon and evening.

The students present explained their personal perceptions and experiences of Sarah Lawrence’s response to sexual assault. Topics such as Sarah Lawrence’s lack of transparency about procedures that followed a report of sexual assault, the failure of administrators to provide complainants’ with options, security’s poor or slow response to reports and administrators’ negative attitudes and reactions to criticism were discussed.

During the meeting, students also talked about the various ways in which the school had tried to address students concerns such as Karen Lawrence’s announcement to the student body, the optional consent workshop held earlier this semester, and the flyers with phone numbers to call in case of sexual assault which were put up a few days before the DOE arrived.

Collins and Moretto Cramer were particularly interested in the efforts of many members of the student body to push for reform of the sexual assault policy this past fall semester. The representatives took a hard copy of the Demand and Grievances that was compiled when students coalesced for reform and were also sent an electronic copy.

There was also a discussion about Sarah Lawrence’s efforts to notify students about this meeting. Many felt that the administration had failed to adequately inform their students. At the time, many of the students claimed that they had not received a notification from the administration. And while a universal email was sent by Julie Auster on March 18, the email did not detail the reason for the Department of Education’s visit and simply said, “see attached” with the flyer from the representatives.

Among the students there was a sense of frustration with the administration, but also relief that Collins and Moretto Cramer were willing to listen and be receptive of student’s personal experiences with Sarah Lawrence’s response to sexual assault.

The meeting lasted over an hour. While most of the student’s had to leave, the discussion with Collins and Moretto Cramer was able to continue. They were unable to tell who had reported Sarah Lawrence to the DOE, but explained that while most of their investigation would be based off school records, they considered the student body’s experiences to be relevant. Out of concern, it was suggested they look at the records with a critical eye since from past discussions with administrators the numbers seem to be inconsistent with the student body’s experiences. Collins assured me, “every answer creates more questions.” They explained that no matter what the outcome of their investigation that they would continue to track Sarah Lawrence’s compliance with Title IX for several years. Moretto Cramer and Collins said that they were relieved to see a better turn-out at the second meeting, because after the first meeting they were concerned that they were not going to reach many students.

Since Collins and Moretto Cramer had planned to hold individual meetings with students, Izzy Waxman ’14 and myself followed them to the Slonim Library, where the various sections of the document were looked over and any confusion about wording was clarified. No other student came, so we were able to talk with the represenatives for over an hour. During the meeting we explained the circumstances revolving around the writing of the Demand and Grievances stating that over 200 students received and were given the option to give feedback on the document. The organized student March in response to a string of emails about sexual assaults and the meetings students had held afterwards were brought up. Waxman told the representatives that many students were under the impression that the administration did not take these concerns seriously.

By the end of the meeting, Moretto Cramer and Collins took contact information. They requested that as many students as possible could be sent any information whether critical or supportive of Sarah Lawrence’s handling of sexual assault. Specifically they are interested in student’s personal experiences. They state that if any student would like to contact them, the student does not have to provide concrete evidence of their experiences and that all personal information will be removed from the information that they take into consideration. This information was sent to the list of emails that were collected during last semester’s student coalition.

If you would like to contact the Department of Education with your experiences, please consider emailing John Collins at and Anna Moretto Cramer at

If you are concerned about your personal information being attached, consider emailing me at and I will be sure to remove personal information before forwarding it to them.

The representatives of the DOE will notify me when they plan on holding another meeting and I will make an effort to let as many students know about it as possible. Please email me if you would like to be notified. 

by India Cusack '14

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.