Move-out day challenges students during finals week

Michaela DeLauter

The last day of the fall semester at Chatham is Dec. 10, 2021. After the last day of classes, students and faculty head home for winter break. 

On Oct. 7, the University sent an email to all the resident students on campus about move-out protocol for winter break. 

“As a reminder, Chatham University residence halls and apartments close at 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021 to all residents,” the email reads. “The only exception is students who apply and are approved to remain on campus for part or all of winter break.” 

The Fall Closing, Winter Break, and Move-Out Information section on my.chatham lists potential reasons why a student would request additional housing. Such reasons include athletes with practices or games during the break, international students, out-of-state students living more than 350 miles, students who are cross-registered at another institution that is still conducting in-person classes after Dec. 10, students with Chatham University as their permanent legal address or who are experiencing housing insecurity and students scheduled to work an on-campus job during the winter break or other extenuating reasons. 

According to the website, other extenuating reasons will be disclosed in the related Wufoo form. However, after accessing the Wufoo form, there is no way to disclose an extenuating reason that does not fall into the aforementioned reasons. 

For a student like myself, this raises a concern. 

I am from the Harrisburg area of Pennsylvania, meaning my drive is around four hours one way. I don’t have a car on campus, so my parents are responsible for driving out to get me for winter break. 

My mother is one of two supervisors at her job. At all times, a supervisor must be present at the office. Her counterpart already had the day off – meaning she was unable to request that day. My father is in the same boat as two of his coworkers already have the day off, not allowing him to request off as well. 

As a result, the earliest either of my parents are able to get off work is 5 p.m. This means that after working a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. workday, my parents are asked to drive an eight hour round trip to retrieve me from campus. 

That isn’t plausible as the earliest we will arrive home is 2 a.m.

After multiple attempts at submitting the Wufoo form, I finally sent an email to Residence Life. In my email, I explained my situation and how I wasn’t given an adequate notice for the move-out deadline. 

While the office of residence life responded back to my email giving me a one-time exception to stay until noon the next day, my question arises: Why couldn’t we just have that weekend anyway? 

The university does not seem to take into account students, like myself, who’s parents are responsible for moving them in and out. 

Since I participated in the early move-in for my position on campus this year, I was asked to move into my campus residence on a Monday. My parents had to request personal time off to help me move-in.

The University is also requesting that we move-in that Tuesday before classes start on Wed. Jan. 5, 2022. Again, another day that my parents have to put in for PTO time. 

These days begin to add up, especially for my dad, whose job doesn’t give him many PTO days. In order to help me move in or out, my dad is sacrificing his PTO days and sacrificing days where we as a family can take vacations.

Many students will be spending the week leading up to move-out studying for their finals. This leaves them very little time to prepare for move-out. Students have already expressed their frustrations with this policy, as well, since it adds additional stress to an already stressful week. 

To best accommodate the community and their families, Chatham should allow students an extra day to move out of the residence halls. This will also help prevent a chaotic and potentially unsafe influx of persons not part of the Chatham community from coming onto campus at once in order to help students move out.

Last school year’s policy – wherein students were given the weekend to depart for winter break – should be reinstated this year. To ask students to move-out on the last day of classes can be inconsiderate to the students and their families.