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.
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.