At first glance, Lisa S. Palmer’s dorm room at Hunter College in Manhattan looks like that of any busy college student. There’s an unmade bed, a Hello Kitty wastebasket, an unfashionable-but-sturdy wooden desk with a lava lamp and a bag from NYC’s iconic Strand bookstore perched atop an unwieldy stack of papers.
It’s only when you examine the individual in the picture of Palmer’s dorm room that you realize something a bit off — namely, Palmer. She seems a bit old for the dorms. And she is, at 32. She’s also not actually a student at Hunter, having not attended classes for almost two years now.
However, she still refuses to leave Room E579 at the school’s 425 E. 25th St. dormitory, despite $94,000 (no, I didn’t misplace that comma or add a zero) in unpaid housing fees. Now, according to the New York Post, a lawsuit seeks to remove the snowflake squatter from her dorm room.
The Delaware native first enrolled at Hunter in 2010 after leaving St. John’s University in Queens. But she didn’t enroll for the Fall 2016 semester after a dispute over her tuition and housing bill.
Now, a lawsuit claims, she’s “racked up a staggering $94,000 in unpaid residence hall charges on account of her continued occupancy, all the while ignoring Hunter College’s service of additional vacate notices.” The dorms, according to the school’s website, are only for enrolled students who maintain a certain GPA.
The first notice for Palmer came in the summer of 2016, from Michell Quock, the assistant director of residence life.
“As of today, June 7, 2016 you are still in occupancy of the aforementioned room,” the notice read, asking her to leave.
Soon, they upped the ante, sending her an all-caps bold-faced message that said “THIRTY DAY NOTICE OF TERMINATION.”
“You are required to vacate and surrender the premises on or before Oct. 31, 2017 at 12:00 p.m.,” the notice from a school attorney read.
Palmer, a former geography major who is now with an architecture firm, says she plans “on fighting the lawsuit and while I fight it, I’m going to stay.”
While the school says she dropped out, she claims she wasn’t allowed to enroll after the dispute over her bill.
“I felt that it was a miscommunication initially, but after I met with the dean I felt that they were starting to treat me unfairly. It was like, ‘Get out,’” Palmer said.
Which, yeah. That’s how schools work. If you lose your dispute and don’t pay, you’ve dropped out.
“I feel very isolated,” Palmer said, noting that she’s been moved to a wing only occupied by a middle-aged nurse that Hunter is also attempting to evict. (The building was formerly with Bellevue Hospital, which gave rooms to nurses.)
The Hunter College student has gotten plenty of attention for her very expensive 100-square-foot apartment (even by Manhattan standards, $94,000 is a lot in back rent) — including from Newsweek, who lampooned her with the headline “32-year-old college dropout refuses to leave dorm room.” Considering it was revealed this week that Newsweek almost got evicted from its Manhattan digs due to unpaid fees as well, the fact that Palmer couldn’t arouse their sympathy is perhaps indicative of just how pathetic a figure she truly is.
I don’t know many people who would stay in their college dorm room longer than they had to. Mine, in the middle of Washington, D.C., dated from the 1960s and the only updates I think it had received since that august period were cable and internet. It had a heater that had two settings: Dubai hot or Yukon cold. The AC nominally ran, although I could never notice a difference. My assigned roommate once purged the contents of his upper gastrointestinal tract on the tiled floor after drinking nine bottles of Mike’s Hard Lemonade, and the room smelled of that malodorous concoction until the day we moved out.
I would never in a million years go back to that sort of life. The fact that there’s an individual out there willing to go to court with a school she no longer attends to live in a horrible dorm she doesn’t qualify to inhabit is truly staggering to me. Surely she realizes that, between her unpaid rent and the legal fees she’s going to accrue, she’d be better off moving almost anywhere else, and that includes the expensive confines of Manhattan. Good grief.
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