Friday, September 30, 2022

Cinnamon College to House All NUS College Freshmen; Inclusion among Concerns

Story | Avery (she/her), Staff Reporter

Photo | Joshua Vargas (he/him)

NUS plans to house the entire inaugural cohort of NUS College in Cinnamon College, The Octant has learned. 

Citing the need for a common first-year experience, Dean-Designate of NUS College Simon Chesterman confirmed plans exist for this arrangement in an email dated 21 January. 

“The first cohort of NUS College will be around 400 people. The only way to give them a unified experience is to house them in one location, which for this year means Cinnamon College.”

This arrangement was also communicated to prospective applicants in an information session on 19 January hosted by NUS College admissions officers Laura Severin and Jasmine Seah. They added that NUS plans to “house students in the other Yale-NUS colleges as the years go by.”

Housing all first-year NUS College students at a single location was not an option discussed at student consultations by the Facilities Management Working Group, according to students in attendance at the sessions last November.

“Nope, they didn’t mention that,” an anonymous freshman commented, adding that she thought NUS College first-years would “take the rest” after Yale-NUS students had chosen their rooms.

Students interviewed reported concerns this may distance NUS College from the Yale-NUS population. According to a survey conducted last semester, about 80% of Yale-NUS students prefer spreading NUS College students across residential colleges.

“While selfishly some part of me feels happy with this separation as it will seemingly prolong the life of the Yale-NUS I know,” said one anonymous freshman, “I think that this move will contribute to a perceived segregation between the two communities.”

“There won’t be any actual integration,” said Arena Zega ’25, “we won’t have any freshies to build a community with, so the community will eventually be erased.”

Wang Xing Hao ‘23 suggested “that’s fair” since “they might be focused on serving [Yale-NUS] students first,” though “it’s weird if there isn’t some integration starting from the 2nd or 3rd batch.”

When asked if the plan would distance the Yale-NUS population from NUS College, Chesterman responded that he looks forward to “engaging further with the YNC community and facilitating interaction between NUS College and YNC students as we welcome that first cohort later in 2022.”

Dean of Students Dave Stanfield and Associate Dean of Students Cory Owen were not informed of specific plans.

“That’s information I heard secondhand,” Stanfield replied when asked to confirm the arrangement, “but I have not received confirmation.” Owen, a member of the Facilities Management Working Group of the new college, added that she had “not heard any of this.”

The Dean of Students Office later updated they would be meeting with NUS College administrators on housing arrangements.

The limited capacity at the 600-room Cinnamon College has also raised speculation that current USP students may be asked to take up accommodation at the Yale-NUS College campus, though this possibility is not confirmed by any senior administrator.

“They were like, it’s possible we don’t even get students coming into YNC next year,” said an anonymous student who attended the Class of 2025 Dialogue on 19 January with Yale-NUS leadership.

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