A New York University sophomore who says he spent eight months sleeping in a library basement because he couldn’t afford campus housing has been moved to a free dormitory room, school officials said.
Steve Stanzak, 20, said he began spending six hours a night in the sub-basement of Bobst Library at the beginning of the academic year after he was unable to pay a $1,000 housing deposit. He slept on four library chairs and carried vital belongings — a laptop computer, books, clothes — in his backpack. He kept other items, like books and clothing, in storage lockers.
University officials eventually discovered an online journal Stanzak kept about his experiences and relocated him to a free dorm room last week.
“When students who have needs and concerns get in touch with the university, we have ways to help,” NYU spokesman John Beckman told the campus newspaper, Washington Square News, this week. “The last thing students should do is assume nothing can be done.”
Scores of students read about Stanzak’s daily adventures on his Web journal, www.homelessatnyu.com, and he became something of a campus celebrity.
“I thank everyone who helps me get through the day, and makes me realize that although I’m poor and live in a library ... that I’m learning a lot about life, and that I will make it through this,” reads an entry dated April 15.
Stanzak, who dubbed himself “Bobst Boy” on the Web site, says he washed in the library’s bathroom and took occasional showers at friends’ apartments and dorm rooms.
‘I love this school’
He said security guards awakened him about five times in the library, twice telling him he couldn’t sleep there, other times checking that he was OK and was in fact an NYU student.
“I wasn’t afraid of being thrown out of the library,” he told The New York Times for a story in Tuesday’s editions. “I could have slept in the park. My worst fear was getting kicked of NYU. I love this school.”
Although he works four jobs, receives a $15,000 NYU scholarship and has several student loans, Stanzak said he received no financial assistance from his divorced parents and had only enough money to cover tuition, about $31,000 a year for full-time undergraduates.
Undergraduate housing costs anywhere from $7,700 to $16,600 per year, depending on the room arrangement.
Stanzak, a creative writing major, grew up in Waterloo, N.Y., a small town in the Finger Lakes region.