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Answers to emerging questions about storage, move out

Channing Wang/Thresher

By Brian Lin     3/16/20 8:01pm

With the coronavirus looming over campus and the announcement that most undergraduate students must leave campus by March 25, some residential colleges have held town halls to discuss the critical questions students have concerning their premature departure and the remainder of the semester. Answers to more questions can be found here. 

Based on the Brown College town hall led by magisters B.J. and Shirley Fregly, and Brown President Evan Delafose this article will share and answer some questions students were asking. 

What is PODS storage and who qualifies?

The university will provide free PODS storage to students, allowing each student to store around three boxes and a fridge over the summer. Although off-campus students technically can use the PODS, this is discouraged to reserve space for people who live far away. Seniors cannot store their belongings in PODS, but colleges will reserve space for seniors’ belongings in common areas. Large furniture (couches, rugs, etc.) cannot be stored in PODS. The university is currently uncertain of what will be done with belongings left in dorms, according to town hall leaders. 

What if I left for spring break and my belongings are in my room?

Students who have already left for spring break are discouraged from returning and should instead reach out to a roommate or friend to help pack up belongings, the leaders said. Brown in particular will circulate a damage waiver form waiving the liability of those who help others empty rooms, according to the leaders. 

The leaders said that, as of now, they are uncertain of whether students who leave their belongings in their room will be forced to return to campus and collect their belongings by the end of the semester. 

According to an email sent to the college sent on March 14, if students are unable to return to get their belongings and are unable to have someone else pack their belongings for them, H&D will come in to pack their things if they can figure out what belongs to the student. The email asks that students try to have small valuables packaged and mailed to them or stored by a friend.

According to the email, H&D will not move and store large items such as furniture. Any large items left in rooms after March 25 may be discarded.

Refunds for meal plans and Tetra?

Housing and Dining will not be refunding Tetra to seniors, as unspent Tetra is typically not refunded to students normally, the leaders said. Since Tetra rolls over, students who are returning to campus next year will have an opportunity to use their Tetra, the leaders said. According to a March 15 email from President David Leebron, “room and board fees” will be refunded to on campus students.

Will serveries and Housing and Dining remain open?

The serveries that remain may likely follow the spring break schedule, but the manner in which food is served may be different ⁠— students might no longer be able to self-serve at the serveries, the leaders said. Off-campus students will still be able to use the servery until the end of the semester, or request for a reimbursement of remaining meals if meal plan refunds are put forth, the leaders said. Although residential colleges will likely remain closed, the campus will still be operational, according to the town hall leaders. 

Financial assistance for travel and work study?

The university has designated some funds to assist students in obtaining flights home, but the application process can be selective, leaders said. Additionally, most on-campus work-study positions have been shut down, according to the town hall leaders. Leebron said in his email that plans to compensate those roles will be announced later.

Can LGBTQ+ students stay on campus due to lack of safety at home?

LGBTQ+ students can apply to stay on campus, but eligibility will be decided based on the application, the leaders said. Grace Wickerson, a Brown senior and current Student Association president, and Delafose have spoken with Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman about this issue, according to town hall leaders. 

“If your at-home situation is dangerous and inhibitive to your studies or wellbeing in any way, you are eligible to petition to remain on campus,” Delafose, a Brown junior, said during the town hall. “I know this population was not explicitly mentioned, but your wellbeing is extremely important in this situation."

Plan for the rest of the semester?

There have been some conversations about petitioning to postpone midterms until the week of March 30, but there have also been concerns of forcing professors and faculty to continually push back dates, the leaders said. The Rice Memorial Center is open and students can either return their books at the bookstore or return books by mail, according to the leaders. 

The town hall leaders were unsure whether students who leave their belongings in their rooms will be required to return to campus to retrieve their belongings later in the semester. Students who have parking permits can leave their cars on campus through the semester, according to the town hall leaders.

Students who are still on campus are asked to park in West Lot 5, no matter what sticker they have. Students who have already left and will not return should email parking@rice.edu and let them know where their car is. Otherwise, it may get ticketed after March 25, according to the email.

Assistant News Editor Rynd Morgan contributed to this report. 

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