Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Starved for Cash...or Attention?

NYU student sleeps for months in library basement
Sophomore 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 library chairs and carried vital belongings -- a laptop computer, books, clothes -- in his backpack.

University officials eventually discovered an online journal Stanzak kept about his experiences and relocated him to a free dorm room last Tuesday.

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.

I was about to express my admiration of Mr. Stanzak's very resourceful style-until I discovered that he had been keeping an online journal about his life. His maintaining of such an internet diary, with a title like "homessatnyu", really raises the question of whether or not he was simply living in the basement of the New York University library, because he simply wanted to distinguish himself. Was the free dorm room avaikable to Stanzak before he became a minor celebrity? Or was the administration just acting out of PR concerns? These are critical questions that the most recent news reports do not yet answer. I feel that there are not enough facts to judge this fairly, but as the story develops I hope more information will emerge.


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