Courtesy of Ram Archives
The United Student Government (USG) voted to pass a proposal to the Office of Residential Life regarding Residence Hall accommodations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
USG voted on the proposal on Sunday, March 15, and sent it to university administration in the division of Student Affairs and the Office of Residential Life the following morning.
“We chose to write this proposal in light of the difficult situations that many students are currently facing,” said Kaylee Wong, GSB ’20, executive president of USG and Ashley Qamar, GSB ’20, executive vice president of USG. “We as the executive ticket of USG are here to be the voice of the students, and so we moved forward in this proposal.”
The proposal cites a lack of communication between the Office of Residential Life and the student body concerning exceptions to the order to vacate or resources available to students who were forced to vacate with such short notice.
Luke Morgan, GSB ’22, president pro tempore, said it is vital to keep the Fordham University community informed, no matter the circumstances.
“It was clear to us that the messaging from the administration was not calming the many concerns that the student body had,” he said. “With this call to action, our Student Government can make sure that all students have their voices heard — at the end of the day, that’s the most important thing.”
The proposal requests three clarifications and accommodations of the Office of Residential Life to make. The first request is to clarify the move out process for students.
“We recommend that the messaging from Fordham University to its students regarding the collection of their vital belongings be clear and concise,” reads the proposal.
The second request is to clean and disinfect empty rooms in O’Hare Hall, so international students and domestic students with extenuating circumstances can remain on campus if they need to. USG suggests each student be assigned their own room in consideration of the spread of the coronavirus.
The last accommodation requests that the Office of Residential Life provides on campus storage options for students. The proposal suggests allowing students to store seven boxes (24x24x36) in rooms on the first floor of O’Hare.
“We hope that this proposal encourages the Office of Residential Life and the division of Student Affairs to take action in order to better support students,” said Wong and Qamar in a joint statement to the Ram. “We hope that residential accommodations will be made for students with extenuating circumstances, we hope that storage will be offered to students on campus, and we hope that the university will communicate more clearly moving forward.”
The rest of the proposal asks the administration to acknowledge that some students may come from unstable or unwelcoming home environments and that it is in their best interest to remain in Fordham housing.
“We, as the United Student Government, urge the University to remain committed to their promise of caring for others, promoting justice, and ensuring a tight community by creating accomodations for residential students facing extenuating circumstances at the Rose Hill campus,” read the proposal.
Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of the university, said the university is working through the policies on credit and reimbursement for room and board and some student fees in an email sent to the Fordham community on March 18.