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Last UW-Madison Student Housing Cooperative to Be Displaced by University Development

Posted: 2022-02-27 12:52:28   Expiration: 2032-03-06 22:52:28

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  333 East Campus Mall, 4301 Student Activity Center, Madison, WI
  Website:   Phone: 608/265-4ASM   


27 February 2022

Tyler Katzenberger, Press Office Director | 715-465-0289

Last UW-Madison Student Housing Cooperative to Be Displaced by University Development

After 67 years of providing affordable housing to students, Zoe Bayliss Student Housing Cooperative has been told by the University of Wisconsin-Madison its residents must vacate their building.

Zoe Bayliss Cooperative 1955            Zoe Bayliss Cooperative 2022

MADISON, WI — Zoe Bayliss Student Housing Cooperative, the only remaining student housing cooperative in the state of Wisconsin, has occupied a UW-owned building on the corner of Park Street and West Johnson Street for the last 67 years. The building was constructed by the University for the express purpose of providing affordable cooperative living to students on campus. The Cooperative’s future is now in doubt. In 2021, UW Housing notified Zoe Bayliss residents that the new Irving and Dorothy Levy humanities building will be built on the site that the Cooperative occupies, and the Cooperative will no longer be able to operate there after the 2022-2023 school year. If the Cooperative no longer has access to this building or the University does not provide an adequate alternative for the Cooperative to continue to operate, this community may cease to exist. The Zoe Bayliss community is asking for support from the UW-Madison and greater Madison community in advocating for the continuation of our Cooperative and affordable housing option.

To support Zoe Bayliss, donations can be made on the Madison Community Cooperative website, signatures of support can be added to our change.ore petition titled “Save Zoe Bayliss”, and emails to University Housing and the Chancellor's Office can be sent to and, respectively.

Since its founding in 1955, thousands of residents have benefited from the Cooperative’s affordable rent prices that include meals prepared by a Cooperative employee. Living in a double room at Zoe Bayliss costs less than half the price of living in the University dorm next door.

Residents also learn community and leadership skills through the cooperative structure which includes delegating cleaning duties, managing all finances, running a board of directors, and making decisions jointly. Furthermore, Zoe Bayliss is the only community living space on campus that fosters community between undergraduate students, graduate students, and students from many diverse backgrounds.

In the press release announcing the new Humanities building University Housing referred to the displacement of Zoe Bayliss as a “small loss of beds for the University, but this was expected.” The University provided little support for continuing the Cooperative as it is currently run. The most recent alternative presented by UW Housing was condensing the Cooperative into a floor within a UW residence hall to operate “much like a small learning community.” The Zoe Bayliss community finds this proposal unacceptable. Without control over all finances, Zoe Bayliss would no longer qualify as a cooperative. Furthermore, the University has been unclear about how the move would affect pricing other than acknowledging that rent for residents would certainly increase. Many other crucial aspects of cooperative living are also unclear.

The Zoe Bayliss community calls on the University to support affordable housing on campus by acknowledging the right of the Zoe Bayliss community to remain in their current building. If the University is unable to do this, they should provide a stand-alone alternative building on campus for Zoe Bayliss to continue offering affordable housing to students in the same manner in which the original building was intended. Alternatively, the University should provide financial support to enable the Cooperative to operate independently.

If you are an alumni of Zoe Bayliss please contact us at

For more information, press inquiries, or to include your name or organization's name in support of Zoe Bayliss please email


-- Associated Students of Madison: Tyler Katzenberger