I-House residents, I-House alumni, I-House staffs
United States of America

March 23, 2020

International House

Attn: Office of the President

500 Riverside Drive

New York, NY 10027

Good evening, President of International House (NY):

We are current residents, alumni, and community members of International House NYC (“IH”). We are in receipt of your email “COVID-19 Update 3.22.2020” that was just sent out at 7:55 PM on March 22, 2020. We write in response to your email expressing your “urgency to expedite departures from the South Building” advising residents to move out of the International House “no later than Tuesday, March 24th if at all possible to prevent last minute crowding.” We are either students, researchers or artists. Your directive that we leave as soon as possible is causing so much fear and panic especially because we are international students, researchers or artist-fellows.

We have been told by lawyers that your request is in direct conflict with Governor Cuomo’s Stay-At-Home order directing residents to self-quarantine in their homes with the exception of essential workers. (See Executive Order No. 202-8) Most importantly, he issued a moratorium on evictions for 90 days. This means no one is to leave their current residence. Your request also poses an even greater public health risk to all New Yorkers. Two members of the IH community have been already found positive for COVID-19 - one IH staff member and one resident. Shockingly, we were not made aware that any resident was found positive until late Saturday night on March 21st, when we were told this resident died because of COVID-19. Your office has acknowledged that “numerous residents and staff have had close contact with this affected [staff member] in recent weeks and as such I-House is now considered an at-risk community.” (Email sent from the President’s Office on March 19, 2020 at 12:13 PM) You are forcing this “at-risk community” that is likely to have been exposed to COVID-19 to further expose any New Yorker whom we will come into contact with after leaving the International House. Therefore, we should in no way be forced to move out of our residence at the IH facility while New York State is fighting the spread of COVID-19.

We demand that IH follows the Governor’s Executive Order. There must not be any closing of the facility and we must not be forced to leave within 48 hours. The IH must continue to provide shelter to us during this public health crisis. While providing shelter, IH must also provide appropriate and necessary services, which include but not limited to deep cleaning of all the residence rooms and common areas, access to food, proper sanitising equipment, and appropriate staffing to provide these services while we remain where we are as per the Governor’s Executive Order. Your letter stated you are closing the cafeteria effective Tuesday, with no provision of food to those of us without kitchen facilities.

We demand that you retract your notice of having IH residents move out. Instead, let residents stay and self-quarantine with the appropriate and necessary services. Not only is this the responsible thing to do, but it is also the right thing to do under the Governor’s Executive Order and under the current pandemic. Please respond immediately.


Residents of International House

Dear I-House residents, alumni and staffs,

After reaching out to all resources provided by residents, fellows, alumni, staffs residents council members and journalists, we have had a number of lawyers willing to offer helping hands. This petition against the I-House illegal eviction could not be launched without your effort, our aim is to bring everyone home to the I-House, not one less.

Please come sign it with your name and title ASAP. and we will send our voice to the I-House President Office, New York City Council, New York City Mayor's Office, The Governor's Office and all relevant government department and civic groups. Let's stay together and say NO to the illegal eviction!

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The Say No to I-House illegal eviction petition to I-House residents, I-House alumni, I-House staffs was written by Fredie Chan and is in the category Justice at GoPetition.