Editor’s Note: In the interest of transperancy, the Nevada Sagebrush would like to disclose that Madison Lloyd lived in Manzanita Hall this year and moved out during spring break due to the pandemic. Lloyd is a freshman at the university.
The University of Nevada, Reno closed its residence halls as of Wednesday, March 25, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving students returning from spring break shuffling to gather their belongings and find funds to return to their hometowns.
Mixed messages from university officials left students confused, stressed and left some students without jobs to rely on.
“I had to pack everything I own into my really tiny car and drive back to Vegas all in one day,” said Amari Grimes, a former Peavine Hall resident. “It was a long, hard, sad and stress-filled day.”
Emails from the university, which included details on moving out, were retracted later that day.
On Thursday, March 12, the university announced classes would be online following starting Monday, March 23 and advised students to remain home following spring break if possible. If that was not possible, students were encouraged to contact Residential Life and Housing immediately. Students were also asked to complete a 30-second survey to determine housing needs.
Many students were left confused and panicked with the minimal amount of time that they had in order to move out.
“If it wasn’t for my Residential Directors, I would have been homeless because I still had to work the day before I drove back to Vegas,” said Grimes. “I couldn’t afford a U-Haul, I had all my belongings in the back of my car. I was afraid that my car was going to get broken into at my work because it’s in a bad part of town. Plus, I had to do this all by myself because my parents live so far away.”
The start of the required dorm move-out dates coincided with the last weekday of spring break, Friday, March 20. March 25, the last day for dorm residents to have their belongings moved out, was also the first day students started the transition to online classes.
Some feel the university did not give students adequate time for students to be able to gather their belongings from the dorms.
“I live in Southern California, so having to suddenly find time to drive up to Reno was a challenge,” said Cove Carlson, a former Wolf Pack Tower resident. “I drove over 36 hours on my last two days of break in order to gather my belongings.”
In the same email from March 19, it also explained that although students were required to move out of the dorms, they would still be financially responsible for their rooms for the remainder of the semester.
“It was disappointing getting kicked out of the dorms because of the financial strain the moveout caused,” said Zoe McCurnin, a former Peavine Hall resident. “I spent months trying to find thousands of dollars to pay for the dorms, just to be kicked out.”
McCurnin was reliant on student housing as her primary source of housing and is currently without a place to stay in her home. She said she is grateful for the help she is receiving from her uncle and some of her “generous” friends who wish to remain unnamed.
On March 27, students started a petition asking the university to refund students for their residence hall fees. The petition has since been signed by over 9,000 students. In response to the petition, the university made the choice to give students partial refunds.
“I signed this petition because this loss of housing has had a strain on my daily life,” said Grimes. “This money is going to be helpful in getting my life rebuilt in Reno, and it will cover my first month’s rent in an off-campus apartment.”
Madison Lloyd can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @NevadaSagebrush.