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Juilliard’s homeless students: some harsh facts of life

December 26, 2017 by norman lebrecht

54 comments.


We have received documentation that validates the case we reported of a Juilliard student sleeping rough over Christmas, and other times, in Penn Station.

The person is a bona fide student who applied for accommodation help to all the appropriate offices, up to Dean level, at Juilliard. The responses to his appeal were courteous but unyielding. The young man would have to pay $16,000 to $19,000 a year for a room in the dorm. The cost could be covered by a loan, but he would start life after college – while looking for a job – with an $1,800 yearly repayment charge.

That’s life.

Juilliard is a tough college in a tough town. You could argue that it serves as a burning fiery furnace through which all will pass who wish to make a life in music in the USA. We cannot deny the logic of that argument.

But in shutting its dorms over Christmas, throwing foreign students onto the streets, Juilliard crossed an invisible line between good business practice and bad reputation, much as the unfortunate Bethlehem innkeeper did a while back. Juilliard is not to blame for the established rules of the US college game but it has show itself to be tone-deaf to individual need and social expectation.

There are other music colleges in the US, no less demanding than Julliard, which show a higher level of pastoral care while making sure that their students learn to look after themselves.

Juilliard survives and thrives on bequests and donations from happy students of times past. It has a public responsibility of care for its present-day students, a duty it does not exercise with sufficient diligence.

 

 


Comments (54)

  1. Anon says:

    The US system in a nutshell: modern slavery. If you are not a child from wealthy family. Start your professional life with substantial debt. You are a slave to the rule of the moneyed elite.

  2. Ravi Narasimhan says:

    Unfortunately, social expectation and public responsibility have been out of favor for some time in the U.S. The comments on this and recent related topics confirm pessimism.

    1. Helene Kamioner says:

      Certainly students were informed that the dorms would be closed and certainly there are other resources which one can ferret out with a little bit of smarts such as friends, relatives, their consulate and embassies. bulletin boards, religious organizations. I suggest this student take advantage of the connection Juilliard has to other academic institutions in the City, like Columbia and Barnard and particularly the CUNY schools like Hunter and avail his/her self of the multitude of resources this City has to offer instead of putting the blame on Juilliard for his/her misfortune. I can assure you from personal professional experience, the hosting organization does not always provide. I attended Juilliard from 1972-76 when the dorms didn’t exist and housing was at a premium, and had lots of friends who helped themselves, including to my floor. And quite honestly, I find Juilliard and its staff to be supportive, generous, always gracious and kind, unlike many similar European conservatoires.

      1. Ravi Narasimhan says:

        I don’t understand why the other schools in NYC, who have their own students to look after, are a suitable safety net. If they were, I think the calls would be made by officials of the school to their counterparts. Juilliard’s costs are first-class/luxury passage. Their behavior here is that of a fee-for-everything budget airline.
        https://www.juilliard.edu/campus-life/student-accounts/tuition-fees-and-expenses

        To be fair, their mission statement says what they provide.
        https://www.juilliard.edu/school/juilliards-mission

        1. Helene Kamioner says:

          To Ravi

          From THE NEW YORK TIMES; Two Colleges Join Juilliard In Degree Plan
          By JOSEPH BERGER
          Published: March 2, 1989

          The Juilliard School, Columbia College and Barnard College have decided to collaborate in a program that officials hope will allow students to create lusher harmonies of music and intellect.

          The schools yesterday announced a five-year program that will allow musically talented students to earn two degrees – a bachelor of arts degree in any major and a master’s degree in music.A second program will allow some Juilliard students to take academic courses at Columbia and Barnard, and some Columbia and Barnard undergraduates to take music lessons at Juilliard. ‘The Best of 2 Worlds’

          The need for such programs was supported by the flutist Eugenia Zukerman and the pianist Emanuel Ax.

          Such affiliations appear to be growing as music students demand stronger intellectual grounding. Last month, the Mannes College of Music merged with the New School of Social Research, partly to give Mannes students access to the New School’s academic courses.

          Under the joint-degree program, Columbia and Barnard students would spend three years at their respective schools in Morningside Heights completing required undergraduate courses. Then, after an audition, they could enroll for two years at Juilliard. Their music courses would count toward filling their elective requirements at Columbia or Barnard. The courses would also count toward the master of music degree at Juilliard. Students Must Meet Standards

          ”This is a way for a young student to have it both ways,” Mr. Polisi, a basoonist, said.

          1. Ravi Narasimhan says:

            That’s a sensible sharing of resources. Does it extend outside of the classroom to housing?

            There are some good points raised elsewhere on both sides of this – the visa restrictions on foreign student work, monthly vs. term housing, timeliness of the notification, and the differing perceptions on Juilliard from current and former students.

            There’s more going on than we’ve seen but based on what’s been shown, I think a quick phone call from Juilliard to its affiliated colleges could have resulted in options in place before the shutdown. “If you can help house a few students for a month, we’ll reciprocate.”

      2. Nic says:

        Has Julliard paid you come on here and defend them?
        Cause it seems like it..And friend you came to Julliard when?
        Back in the 70’s..Things are quite different now and the cost of living is much higher now than back then lol
        It is utterly disgraceful what Julliard has done..
        They get vast huge sums of money from outside sources and this is what they do to their students?
        Wow..I am appalled..

        1. Zach says:

          It’s spelled Juilliard. (Not that I’m normally an elitist about that, but if you’re going to claim to be an authority on the practices of my alma mater, I expect you to know how to spell it).
          Norman’s article, as usual, is an excuse to take a cheap shot at Juilliard. Find me any institution that will waive its fee for living just because the student doesn’t want to take out a loan. In reality, Juilliard is extremely generous when it comes to aid. 90% of students are on scholarship from the school, which is primarily allocated based on need. The average aid award is 55% of tuition, which, while not cheap, is already lower than many peer institutions (particularly in Manhattan). It was always one of the cheapest options for me when I was applying to colleges. Furthermore, I have known Juilliard to work with multiple classmates who needed extra scholarship– in one case, they finally allocated extra aid in September to a friend of mine starting a new degree program, after they were unable to help him the previous March. He kept talking to deans and administrators, and they kept fighting for him, and eventually, they were able to help him.

          In the case of the anonymous student mentioned, he may be misinformed about what Juilliard is capable of. I personally know that Juilliard is unable to offer free rooms to any student– in part because Lincoln Center, not Juilliard, owns the Residence Hall building. Juilliard does its best, but it’s limited in what it can do.

          This is simply the latest iteration of a long pattern in which Norman takes every chance he can to take a cheap shot at Juilliard. I’m not sure why– obviously there must be bad blood somewhere. I’ve heard no less than the head of the NYTimes Arts Section publicly disparage Norman’s lack of integrity (in front of the president of Juilliard).
          Juilliard is and was an incredibly nurturing place for many, including me. (And no, they’re not paying me). It’s not a perfect place, and sometimes, like any institution, it gets it wrong. However, it’s jam-packed with caring administrators and teachers who make students their #1 priority, who bend over backwards trying to help us succeed. It’s a truly great institution that upholds ideals of integrity which Norman unfortunately wouldn’t be able to comprehend.

      3. Ann Silberman says:

        When my child went to conservatory in both SanFrancisco and London it was common for friends to sleep over on the floor and vice versa. In boarding arts school I was happy to host his out of town friends at my house over school vacations. Also, a loan repayment of $1800 a year doesn’t seem impossible. I wish I lived in NY, I would gladly put him up.

  3. Hugh Jorgan says:

    “The wealthiest 1 percent of American households own 40 percent of the country’s wealth….higher than at any point since 1962 ”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/12/06/the-richest-1-percent-now-owns-more-of-the-countrys-wealth-than-at-any-time-in-the-past-50-years/

    “Richest 1% own half the world’s wealth”
    https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/nov/14/worlds-richest-wealth-credit-suisse

    The Russians must be to blame……..Forward!

    1. Anon says:

      Putin and terrorists are to blame, clearly! Any questions? Anybody listening? No? I thought so.

      1. Brian says:

        Nah. It’s all Obama’s fault, silly!

  4. Charles Fischbein says:

    Harsh realities of life are that there is no such thing as a free lunch.
    These students should put on their big boy and girl pants and face hardships head on..There,are plenty of part time jobs in Manhattan where contingency fund could be made to cover short term inconvenience

    1. Stephen says:

      I hope that if you are ever in need, you are treated as with as much compassion as you are showing for others.

    2. Nic says:

      Put on your big boy and big girl pants?
      What??
      Charles have you any idea the cost of tuition in these Music schools..They are far more expensive than going a Community College ok.
      And many of the student are foreign countries and other states from the US.
      Julliard gets Millions ok..Millions from people to help them stay in business not only from past students but from the Government and other sources..
      So please hold down your stone cold heart and lack of common sense..
      How many famous people have come out of Julliard in 2017?
      List them please..
      Music Schools are notorious for churning out vast among of students who will in no wise be able to Work as a Successful Musician..
      The last famous Opera Singer to come out of Julliard was Renee Fleming and that was over 20 years ago..
      With Manhattan over 25 years ago..the Last known famous singer was Susan Graham..
      Many students leave Music School in heavy debt..Unable to pay..
      It is not a matter of putting on a big boy/girl pants..
      It is more a greedy Music School as Julliard hogging all the Incoming monies and these people giving themselves huge bonuses from donated Money that should go to students and their education and to pay for living expenses..

      1. Zach says:

        2017 is a little recent, but let’s go to 2015, which graduated Brandon Hall, now star of the ABC show “The Mayor” (he plays the mayor). Oh, and two current members of the new Star Trek show, cast members of Hamilton, and more. It had a Rockette, a member of the Martha Graham Dance company, a member of Hubbard St. Dance in Chicago, and other dance companies in Montreal, Minneapolis, Germany, and of course the Opera Ballet of Lyon, France. Opera stars careers take a longer time to mature, generally, as do their voices, but keep your eye on Ryan Speedo Green, Davone Tines, Julia Bullock, Theo Hoffman, Angela Vallone, and Samantha Hankey, to name a few off the top of my head. Of course several of the recent collaborative piano graduates also work now as vocal coaches at the Met. And keep your eye too on Matt Aucoin, who was the assistant conductor over there and I’m sure soon enough will be engaged to write an opera for the Met.

        Juilliard (note the spelling) is NOT a greedy school– it’s an excellent training ground that devotes itself still to providing the world with the next generation of true artists. It does this job well, and it works hard for its students. I will forever be thankful for all it has given me.

  5. Charles Fischbein says:

    Let’s try to agree on a defination of homeless.
    Does being truly homeless mean sleeping on cardboard under torn blankets with all personal possessions in a shopping cart.
    Or does it mean having advance notice of a shott term inconvenience requiring advance planning to find suitable accommodations for a week or two with friends, teachers or a nearby church or social service agency .
    I’m many cases the local counselor offices at the U.N or local embassy from The students country of origin could suggest a short term fix to the problem.
    Young people today cannot face unpleasant contingencies unless someone hard answers to them.
    I doubt ant Juilliard students sre,sleeping in an ally with their four or five figure musical instruments in a shopping cart.
    As ,I said my 1/16th tiny violin can play
    MY HEART BLEEDS FOR YOU.
    Let’s get real. These kids are lazy and far too entitled.

    1. Nic says:

      Oh well Charles you just a ray of Sunshine lol
      Try having Compassion..and stop talking you have no idea what you saying..

      1. Charles Fischbein says:

        Nic. ?????
        How about taking control if ones circumstances.
        No student intelligent enough to be admitted to Juilliard should be unaware of short term living options useless they feel too entitled to fend for themselves.
        Compassion yes for the helpless.
        Pity for the poor schmuck unable to tie his shoe laces.
        Sometimes tough love is better than a handout. How many homeless have you helped.
        Compassion is only real when you act on it, not simply saying how bad you feel for those sleeping in a doorway.
        I have two previously homeless Vets living on my farm on the West Va. border.
        They clean horse stalls. Stack hay bails.
        Split firewood and for that they have a chance to live on my farm. They have a camper to live in they have food. and heat from a wood stove they split firewood for and TV and books, because they wanted it enough to work for it.
        One day they will be ready to move on and and have an apartment or home of their own.
        If veterans referred from the PTSD program at the Martinsburg WV VA Hospital can help themselves an entitled Juilliard student deserves NO compassion for acting helpless.
        This student crested his/her situation through abject stupidity to a
        degree to which they deserve NO compassion.
        Since I doubt you have any personal interactions helping homeless men and women I believe you are the one who has NO idea if wheat they are taking about

        1. Raymond says:

          You’re a pig. You take a discussion of a person’s problems and generalize across a generation. STFU

  6. Felix Ang says:

    Is it the case that any other institutions continue dorm access during winter recess? Juilliard has always been an exception, as far as I know, for allowing international students to stay

  7. Eric H. says:

    Weird. When I went to Juilliard and the term ended, I too had no guaranteed place to sleep. Yet, it would have never remotely crossed my mind to pitch a public bitch like this. What did I do? Asked friends, or friends of friends for a couch and bought them food and gifts as a thank you. I occasionally took a hotel room for nights that were inconvenient for said owners of couches. Grow up.

    1. Thomasina says:

      Agree with you. I think that they have many friends on social media but these students are so lonely and there are no friends who let them stay for Christmas holidays? I’m shocked by the fact…

      1. MARK says:

        +1. But for whatever reason, it’s fashionable to denigrate specific people or institutions on this website, no matter what the facts are. How many days before another negative article comes out against Lang Lang or Yundi?

  8. Byrwec Ellison says:

    Hear! Hear! NL’s points are well made. Foreign students don’t always have the means to go home over traditional American school breaks, a common issue that many colleges try to accommodate. More from US News & World Report…

    https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2017-11-29/us-colleges-host-international-students-over-winter-break

    “Last winter, as students headed home for the holidays and U.S. universities closed for winter break, Chinese national Yaoqin Tang chose to remain on campus at Castleton University in Vermont. The school’s winter break policy allowed her to stay at her residence hall at no extra cost and use the hall kitchen to cook meals.

    “For prospective international students who plan to study in the U.S., going home for winter break may not be in their plans. Researching institutions’ winter break policies before applying can help them choose a school that meets their needs…

    For example, at Michigan State University, when international students receive their initial housing assignment, they can also sign up for between-semester housing and dining. This allows them to stay in their room over the holiday break. Students who live in three specific residence halls are charged a $315 flat fee, which includes the accommodations and dining, while those who live in other residence facilities may stay without applying, according to the school’s website.

    “Marian A. Bankins, associate director of residential and community living at the University of California—Santa Barbara’s Housing, Dining & Auxiliary Enterprises, says that when international students apply for housing, they can sign up for winter break housing for an additional $300…

    “’Some of our halls and dining facilities are open during breaks, and Oregon State does offer break housing to all of our current residents at no additional charge,’ says Kimberly Lamke Calderon, marketing and communications director for international programs at Oregon State University…”

  9. Current Juilliard Student says:

    What sort of documentation have you received exactly? How do you have a way to verify that the person is actually a Juilliard student and is not giving you doctored emails? Only current employees/students at Juilliard have access to our school database to determine if the person actually attends the school or not.
    Even if the person really is a student at Juilliard, I simply don’t understand the point of posting this (along with your first article). When you sign on the dotted line and commit to attending Juilliard, you are also committing to the amount of financial aid you’ve been given. You can always apply for more aid during your time here (and have your request accepted/denied), but if you really couldn’t afford the dorms, couldn’t afford any possible living situation in New York, and had misgivings about taking out that much in loans, maybe you shouldn’t have chosen to attend the school.
    This is just reality. Most of my friends who do not have Kovner fellows at Juilliard (including myself) have all taken out loans of some kind to help pay for college. Heck, pretty much ALL of my friends who attend universities or conservatories in general in America have taken out some amount of loans.
    If someone wants to turn this into a whole discussion about income inequality and rising college costs in general in America, that’s understandable. But to make this a post about how horrible and cruel Juilliard is, that’s simply unfair. And I’m saying this as someone who has a huge laundry list of complaints about my school. The school is very explicit about not giving ANY financial aid to cover living costs. The decision to close the dorms for winter break was communicated weeks in advance, and the community of the school is such that many of us offered up apartments/temporary places to stay to students being kicked out of the dorms. If you didn’t want to take advantage of this (surprisingly warm) community, that’s ultimately your decision.

    1. Zach says:

      If you read Slipped Disc for long enough, you will notice that Norman misses no opportunity to take a cheap shot at Juilliard.
      (Also, Juilliard let people know months, not weeks, in advance about the residence hall closing).
      Our school isn’t perfect. But these particular criticisms are nothing more than slander from a petty gossip columnist.

      1. norman lebrecht says:

        Over the holidays, we banned three commenters from this site for persistent abuse – either of each other, or of the site owner, or of a poor homeless student who has nowhere to go over Christmas. The comment above (which is sent from a traceable juilliard.edu address) is on the margins of acceptability: we are tough enough to take a few cheap, anonymous shots. However, please remember that while this site provides a free public service, it is privately owned. It has rules. One of the rules is no abuse. Observe it, or leave.

        1. Current Juilliard Student says:

          Mr. Lebrecht, I can’t tell if your comment is in reference to mine or Zach’s comment. But since you have replied directly to something related to my original comment, could you please explain how you were able to verify that this person is an actual current student at Juilliard and didn’t just send you some doctored emails?
          Perhaps this is my background of privilege speaking (not really “privilege,” but I did grow up in a comfortable middle class household): if this person is a real, bona fide student at Juilliard, I figure their desire for self-preservation should outweigh their desire for anonymity. Given the sheer amount of people offering money and housing to this student on this thread alone, I question why they’d still want to remain anonymous and homeless as opposed to giving us some more information.

          1. norman lebrecht says:

            The student sent me, in confidence, an email exchange with Juilliard officials. He fears, probably rightly, that any exposure would wreck his Juilliard career.

          2. norman lebrecht says:

            A farewell message from Charles Fischbein: Guess you can’t rake it BL May pay you a,visit when in London this spring, show you the difference between a liberal fool and a conservative man Let’s see how you handle it Fuck off snowflake

        2. Zach says:

          I stand by what I said– I think this sort of public criticism should be expected when one’s typical journalistic practice is to publish salacious accusations first and then verify later (as you did with this story).
          Also, you’re right– as you so kindly revealed to everyone, I did choose to use a very “traceable” Juilliard email. I do not attempt to hide who I am, apart from choosing not to have my last name appear in a public forum. Feel free to send me an email if my comments so bother you.

  10. Helene Kamioner says:

    The 92nd Street YM/YWHA residence is nice, clean, safe and comfy with kitchen, free tickets to concerts and a kitchen Lovely neighborhood and excellent transportation connections and practice rooms, or you can practice in your room. You must apply and will hear within 24 hours. For more information, email or call us at 212.415.5660 or 800.858.4692. There’s a nurse on staff. Incase of a real emergency, check in to an emergency room in any hospital.

  11. Vaquero357 says:

    Part of this story is still not making sense on a practical level. Julliard closes the dorms over Christmas break. This is common practice for colleges all over the United States.

    The part I don’t get is the the “Pay $16K to $19K for a room in the dorm” answer the student supposedly got from the school administration.

    So this student IS NOT currently a Julliard dorm resident? In which case, where was he living for the rest of the semester? And why can’t he keep living there during the break?

    The Administration’s answer about ponying up for room and board seems to indicate that if the student WERE a dorm resident that they would find some accommodation for him over the break. But since he is not, they’re not they can’t or won’t help him.

    This story is still not adding up. We need a Paul Harvey to tell us “The Rest of the Story”.

    1. Blair Tindall says:

      I agree that it doesn’t add up. An annual housing cost in NYC of $16-19K is not unreasonable (additionally, why does an *annual* housing cost come into play for a few days’ need)? All student need housing; it’s not free. As you said, most colleges close dorms over holiday breaks; students find a way through friends, benefactors, religious organizations (join a church, temple, mosque, etc and someone will help) or homeless shelters. AirBnB has many shared-room/dorm accommodations, along with many hostels throughout the trip-state area (does one really have to stay in Manhattan). If this student wasn’t in the dorm in the first place, as it appears, then lack of access to dorms over the holiday doesn’t apply.

      The Lincoln Center Y has inexpensive rooms, and I stay there occasionally, even at AARP age. It’s fine. You meet cool people, too.

      None of the three NYC conservatories had dormitories until recently, and somehow, all of us now-old-fart musicians managed to figure it out. Craigslist offers all kinds of bartering (cooking, pet care, cleaning, house-sitting, nannying) in return for housing. Since this kid is allegedly creative, I urge him to use that skill.

      1. Anon says:

        An annual housing cost of 16-19k US$ for a bunkbed in a shared room doesn‘t sound unreasonable to you? Which brain washing detergent are you using?

        1. Blair Tindall says:

          I gently suggest googling rental ads in Manhattan. When I left my UWS (that’s Upper West Side for non-New Yorkers) apt in 2001, it was $1,000 and had been under rent stabilization rent-increase limits for 22 years. It would easily rent for $4-5,000/mo now — and it was shared by three people. Even the Y (popular among conservatory students) can run $150/night, depending on the time of year, for a shared room.

          1. Anon says:

            And that’s unreasonable. Thank you for proofing my case.

        2. Blair Tindall says:

          Anon, however, that’s what it costs, alas. And I wasn’t proofing your case, but I *am* proofing your response. The word for which you grope is “proving.”

      2. The View from America says:

        For those on a student’s income, the short-term housing accommodations available in America’s big cities are frequently “less than ideal,” to put it mildly. This downtown Detroit hotel review ripped from the pages of the TripAdvisor website makes for amusing reading — at least for those of us who don’t have to deal with the challenges first-hand!

        “Four friends and I (all mid-20s) stayed here for the Lions vs. Packers game and found the location to be great as it is a short walk to the stadium. Unfortunately, the downtown area is so depressed there was nothing happening on a Saturday night, except the lobby bar at the Holiday Inn Express down the road. I suppose we could have gone to the industrial Goth club in the basement of the Leland Hotel, but we had not packed our leather and artificial fangs.

        Allow me to walk you through my experience. We arrived in the midst of a rainstorm, which had flooded roads on our route from Chicago. So why would I expect this property to be any different? I waded through a pool of water in the entryway and found my way up the steps to the lobby. My first impression was, “Wow, this place must have been really nice … 80 years ago.” Everything was run-down and poorly updated in the lobby. Even the counter at reception had a crack and large pieces missing.

        After waiting for a few minutes for some riff-raff to cash their paychecks, I was greeted with a friendly smile and, “Hi, we don’t have any water.” My immediate reaction was humor. “Well, that’s kind of a perk at most hotels…” She said they were working on fixing it, so I did not worry too much. She gave me a parking pass to the secured lot in back, and I and my party made our way in.

        As we approached the elevators, we heard a booming, bass-driven sound coming from just around the corner. We later discovered this was the “famous” City Club located in a former ballroom in the basement of the building. As we waited several minutes for the elevator (only 1 of 6 actually worked), there were people dressed in black with heavy make-up shuffling past … guess where they were going?

        Our room was on the 10th floor, but for some reason the elevator stopped at the 4th to reveal a dingy hallway with no carpet, and paint-splattered walls in a dimly lit hall. This vision brought on a mixed reaction of laughter, and concern. Our floor was not in this poor of a condition. Still rundown and smelly, but carpeted with covered walls. We found our room and the electronic key worked the first time! How often do you need to get a new key because it does not work the first time? It’s commonplace for me. However, no problems here.

        The room was nothing special in the least. Two double beds, a dresser, a nightstand with lamp and radio, flimsy top table with two chairs and a TV that got only one channel with no way to adjust the volume (no remote). The bathroom was clean enough, just old with outdated fixtures. My shower was inexplicably scalding hot, but I was the only one who had this problem. I was a bit concerned with the splatter of blood on the wall, but it became a subject for discussion and was later dismissed.

        We spent some time in the room enjoying some adult beverages and then decided later to hit the town (see first paragraph). Our wait for the elevator this time was much longer than the last, so we decided to take the stairs … If you have a weak heart or are easily spooked, I DO NOT recommend taking the stairs.

        Graffiti-tagged walls and dimly lit wells made this an experience in itself. At every floor there was a 50-gallon drum garbage can overflowing with trash of dirty diapers and biohazard-level waste. Pitch-black corridors at each floor led to a filthy window where God knows what would be found if a light was shined upon it. Oh, and the floors weren’t marked, and in our confused (and slightly intoxicated) state we had no idea where we were. We began trying to open doors at each floor, but none would open. We came across one that was propped open but the floor had no lights … so we pressed on.

        Eventually, we ran out of stairs and found ourselves in the basement. It was then that we decided to break off into pairs and try to find our way out. My buddy and I entered a chasm of a room with no lights filled with old furniture, drapes and large machines. On the far side of the room, we could see a lit room and heard what sounded like big band music. We slowly made our way towards the doorway, thinking perhaps this led to an exit. Our trip was cut short when my friend caught his reflection in a free-standing mirror and we bolted out the way we came.

        Anyone ever seen Scooby-Doo? Well, I was feeling a lot like Shaggy at this point.

        We finally found our way to the lobby and literally ran into our other friends. Needless to say, we waited for the elevator upon our return for the night.

        Two of us slept on the floor (on camping mats) and two in the beds. This arrangement was not disputed and worked out well, but almost killed one of us …

        I awoke in the morning to a loud discussion about how someone could have died. It was then that I looked to the floor just above where my friend’s head was resting and saw the several large broken pieces of plaster, which had hours earlier been a 3 x 1-foot section of the archway to the door.

        That is right. My friend’s head was nearly crushed while he slept by a piece of the ceiling that had chosen that particular night to collapse.

        Scary.”

  12. Charles Fischbein says:

    Let’s get real. , these kids are not homeless they are displaced for a short time.
    There is a wonderful youth hostel where my grandson stays just a few subway stops from Juilliard.
    Jazz in the Park hostel has space for just $48 per night
    They have a large kitchen guests can use anytime to cook.
    Students from all over the world stay thee, it is clean and safe.
    I can’t understand how any College student in Manhattan cant grab a part time job a few hours a week to save for a place to stay for a short time, especially with ample notice
    Starbucks and McDonald’s in Manhattan pay $12 to $15 an hour if one has no skills
    These so called homeless kids are just to damm lazy to get off their rear ends, and make a few bucks to get a short term place to stay.
    If it isn’t handed to them easily they are lost.
    Real New York snowflakes. Typical upper west side Manhattan attitude.

    1. Harlan says:

      “I can’t understand how any College student in Manhattan cant [sic] grab a part time job a few hours a week to save for a place to stay for a short time…”

      Well, if a student is coming from overseas and is on an F-1 student visa it may be illegal for such individual to take up off-campus employment of the type Mr.Fischbein suggests. Unless the student finds a dodgy employer willing to pay “off-the-books”, such employer would demand that the student fill out an “I-9” form, demonstrating proof of his/her right to work in this country, requesting a valid social security card number, etc. Lying on such form and providing fake documentation could have serious ramifications down the road, especially if the student hopes to build a career and a life here in the USA.

      While the law does grant foreign students more flexibility in obtaining “on-campus” jobs, there is not likely to be much work available if the campus is closed for break. And while the student visa does allow working under “curricular practical training” (“CPT”) in an paid internship-type position, such job must relate to the field of study. I don’t think (m)any Juilliard students are majoring in restaurant management, so flipping burgers and drawing lattes wouldn’t pass muster…
      Furthermore, CPT is usually only available after a student has successfully completed the first academic year, which provides scant consolation to Freshmen, who by virtue of their recent arrival are least likely to have developed a network of friends who could take them in over the holidays.

      Regarding your recommendation that students stay at the hostel you mention, you should note firstly that $48 per night becomes $336 for a week, or $672 for two weeks. Plus, the NYC hotel taxes of 14.75% plus $3.50 per night raise the latter rate to nearly $800 for a two week stay. This is a lot of money for a student on a tight budget. Secondly, you should note that there is much fluctuation in hotel rates in NYC throughout the year, with December one of the most difficult and costly times to book a room, especially at short notice. Looking at the website for the hostel you recommend, presently the only bed available spanning the highly-demanded New Year’s Eve holiday is a spot in a “6 Bed Female Dorm” ; all other room types are already fully booked. So even your grandson would find himself out-in-the-cold if he were seeking such accommodation at this time…

  13. LB says:

    For all those with the “get a job” attitude – international students are only allowed to work on campus as part of their visa regulations. You can have one year of off-campus work concurrent with your studies IF it is related to your field – so something like working at Starbucks is completely not an option. Not defending this person’s decision to go public with this nor their situation, but it’s not as easy as just going out and getting a job and pulling up your bootstraps. Immigration into this country is extraordinarily expensive and complex to navigate, and most visas are quite restrictive.

  14. Korean Conservatory Senior says:

    To get that permission, you would have to demonstrate hardship to the school, and the school would have to hand that over to USCIS for authorization. As someone who has dealt with USCIS, let me tell you that they are one of the most under-staffed agencies for the volume of stuff they have to process—this could easily take a month, or longer, and that is assuming the USCIS buys your plea (never a certainty, especially in this political climate towards foreign nationals).

  15. Current Juilliard Student says:

    Nope, I have international friends at Juilliard who can NEVER do part-time work for the school (we call it work-study) due to their visa status.
    While I think we both agree this story is fishy and a bit doubtable, I think I’d disagree slightly with you about what you say about students getting a job to pay for housing. Besides the aforementioned restrictions on some international students working, it’s worth noting that Juilliard loads our schedules so much some days I barely have enough time to eat/take care of basic necessities. Definitely not enough time to work in Starbucks or McDonald’s.
    To this student (if they indeed exist), as I’ve said in previous comments on this article and the prior one, I’d say: 1) take out loans (god knows I have), or 2) don’t attend the school at all if you can’t afford it to the point that you’re homeless in New York.

  16. Anon says:

    Charles, you have obviously no clue what studying music performance at a decent school entails.
    You have hardly time to work part time even.

    1. Blair Tindall says:

      The comments about international students having inability to work in the US are spot-on. And one real difficulty for performing arts students is that class/performance schedules are quite irregular during both day and evening, limiting “same hours every day” jobs like restaurant shifts. A few of my classmates (not international students and therefore legally able to work) drove taxis and worked overnight or very early jobs — one had some sort of midnight-8 am computer coding gig, and another worked the breakfast shift at a luxury hotel. I believe her shift started at 4 am and she was at school by 9 some days.

  17. Craig Campbell says:

    I am an alumn from before the Rose building existed. A recent alumn who received some training from me is now part of a major symphony orchestra. Juilliard demands sacrifice. The old cafeteria closed at three pm. No meal plan. New cafeteria is luxurious. I do miss not smoking in the building haha. If the Professor smoked, so could you.

  18. Alan says:

    My daughter studied law in the UK (Robinson College, Cambridge). I paid accommodation fees three times a year but on the last day of each term over three years she had to put all her possessions in storage and vacate her residence completely (as did all students for “conferences/meetings” that may or may not have happened). We as her parents knew and accepted that from before she commenced her studies. She either flew home or stayed with friends. Conversely my son is now studying for. B Mus degree at Edinburgh University (and has just come home for December holidays to get out of the cold) but was not put out of his room. However but I pay monthly (as opposed to termly accommodation) for 7 months (a university year in UK I think) so he could have stayed on in his room if he wanted and if we could not afford it. It seems that different UK universities have different rules but we were made well aware of the Cambridge and Edinburgh rules and it was never an issue. We are not considered rich but made allowances in both cases and were well informed before they started their university studies. So unless Julliard did not communicate appropriately beforehand I am not sure what this issue is all about.

  19. Current Juilliard Student says:

    What degree was this physician attempting to get? BM (undergrad) degrees are intended for those right out of highschool or a few years after. We have one or two current BM students who started in their 20’s from out of the country, but that’s a huge rarity; most start either right after or a year after they graduate highschool.
    Masters most start right after their BM degree. You MUST have a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent before applying. It is worth noting that the level of playing for Masters, AD, DMA, and GD is VERY high. While the school may take a chance on some undergrads, 99% of all graduate students are at the highest level, playing-wise.
    There must be more to your story than just this physician having his application denied. My guess is that he was ADVISED to apply to Evening Division (which makes a whole lot of sense given his age). There are no students here who are 42. There are a few DMA students approaching 30, or perhaps just past 30, but definitely nobody older than that.

    1. Blair Tindall says:

      You are correct, I’m sure, but there’s an occasional outlier. One of my classmates at Manhattan School of Music in the 1980s was an MM candidate in her late 40s, but she was already an active freelancer, married to someone in the NY Phil, and wanted the degree for teaching purposes…so no issues with housing there.

      1. Blair Tindall says:

        Also, in the case I cite above, evening division wouldn’t work as she was a member of the NJ Symphony with evening concerts; I’m not sure what that division entails at Juilliard, but it seems a musician good enough to be admitted to Juilliard would likely be playing concerts at night and therefore unavailable for classes then. I was thinking it might be more of an extension division for people interested in music and musicology?

        1. Current Juilliard Student says:

          Blair, I realize my comment looks quite confusing with no context; it was in response to a comment Charles made that I’m guessing Norman deleted from the site, saying that a 42 year old physician turned cellist “wasn’t allowed” to apply for a degree program at Juilliard. I was replying to that.
          I’m sure there are occasional outliers, as in the case of your friend, although at this moment at the school there are none.

          1. Blair says:

            Yes, that makes complete sense. Such an MD might have consulting and online diagnosis work opportunities and not need to scramble for gigs.


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