Camped In Library … For Months

A college student who says he spent eight months sleeping in a library basement because he couldn't afford campus housing has been relocated to a free dormitory room, New York University officials said.

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.

"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.

Stanzak said rowdy scholars sometimes kept him awake.

"The premeds are the worst," he told the school paper. "They go to the library and abuse it. They treat it like their own personal space."

Although he works four jobs and has several student loans, Stanzak said he received no financial assistance from his family and had only enough money to cover tuition, about $31,000 a year for full-time undergraduates.