Hartzfeld residents should not be vacated over break

Forcing temporary relocation of students during finals hurts Campus Living as much as student life

Illustration of student being kicked in the pants
Emma Ford / The Mossy Log

There is a distinct possibility that the Lewis & Clark administration does not understand that its students do not find bureaucrat-land easy to navigate. I have heard such sentiments echoed by many an administrator that “we send plenty of reminders” and “it is all on the website.” This may be true, but the community response to the latest decision made by the LC administration, or at least Campus Living, has been telling. 

The removal of the residents of Hartzfeld in favor of temporary residents for winter break is something that those residents, myself included, have been protesting since we were informed a few weeks ago. In that email, and in subsequent emails responding to strong student complaints, Campus Living claimed that residents were made aware of this possibility since they were assigned to Hartzfeld in the summer, but this is not the case as we residents understand it.

Reading back through previous emails, my peers and I only found mention of a possible winter break relocation following our assignment to Hartzfeld, at which point we could not have realistically moved out en masse in a dramatically overstretched campus housing situation. Subsequent emails with questions and concerns went largely unanswered in any meaningful way. The Q&A session that was scheduled for residents was not scheduled with input from any residents, and as such many of us were unable to attend. Our RA’s are barely better informed than we are, despite their best efforts to stand up for their residents. The communication has been less than clear, and we as residents are not being treated with respect or fairness. 

It would be untruthful to state that the school has no right to do this. In the contracts we signed in order to live on campus we may be removed from our rooms in this manner and have no recourse other than to pay to stay over winter break. But the case is not that the school is violating a legal agreement, they are violating the implicit contract that every student felt they signed when they received their Hartzfeld room. It is an emotional outcry we feel at the underpinning of our relationship with our second home being taken from us.

We are being made to leave our rooms, unlike anyone else on campus, and given limited storage space and no other compensation. Should Campus Living truly intend to follow through with this, we should receive something for the considerable trouble we will be forced to go through to carry out their plans, especially during finals week. The unilateral nature of this decision feels particularly out of touch with the realities of the sophomore (and older) student reality.

One of the chief complaints among my peers in the Hartzfeld dorms has been at this lack of support on th part of Campus Living. While in the real world” one might pay movers “(or ply a group of friends with the classic pizza and beer payment) college students on this campus have struggled significantly with the lack of resources made available to us. It was hellish to have to pack up my freshman dorm spring semester amid my second ever finals season, and I was hoping to not have to repeat the experience until absolutely necessary. And I simply am failed to be convinced that now is such a time. I am sacrificing my own study time and rest time to make room for another student with no help offered on the part of my school, and no recognition of the effect this will have on me that my fellow students do not have to deal with. It is not fair that I experience an excess penalty on my time simply for the dorm I chose to live in. 

And let us return briefly to the point of cleanliness and safety. I do not like the idea of someone that I do not know sleeping in my bed and using my bathroom. I especially have concerns about whether or not any damage to my room will affect my deposit and if it will be caught upon my moving back in. Should my unwelcome guest break my bathroom, spill on my carpet, damage the large exposed piping that hangs from the ceiling or any other hundred possibilities, it would directly affect me and my roommate. We have no idea who will be in our spaces, but we are forced to implicitly trust them. 

However, the bottom line is, we should not have to move. These are our rooms, which we have been lucky to live in, and have made our own. Regardless of safety and cleanliness concerns, these are our homes away from home. Our lives are in these rooms. To move out in the middle of finals is going to be nearly impossible logistically, and a huge ask physically and mentally. Instead of focusing on passing my classes, taking care of myself, and the upcoming holiday time with my family, I have to source boxes, consolidate the belongings I still need to be using, and wrestle with limited storage space. 

Campus Living clearly has a difficult task at hand in dealing with lots of residents and limited resources. If we could work with them, the antagonistic relationship that is developing could be nipped in the bud. There is real hurt and discontent brewing among students who are simply trying to survive in temporary housing, away from home for the first time. We understand hard choices have to be made. But the fact that this is the battle they are choosing, and the fact that they are choosing not to engage with us as a community, makes it a little hard to be understanding. 

This article may not change minds of those with authority, and it may not be heard in the offices at the top. Policy is policy and should I end up replaced with a new resident over break I will do my best to clear the way for them and remember it is not their fault that I am being removed. But at the end of the day, I really do not want to give up my room. 

Would you?

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