By Christian Loeffler
If you’re an SVC student, there’s a decent chance you still need to clean out your dorm room.
Most students left their belongings on campus when given just over a 24-hour move out notice on March 12, along with a tentative return date slated at the end of a two-week virtual learning timeframe.
Less than a week later on Tuesday, March 17, students learned from a second presidential email that classes would no longer be held on campus for the remainder of the semester and that their belongings on campus needed to be retrieved. The following Friday, March 20, Student Affairs emailed students that their belongings would be off-limits from retrieval. As of the time of this printing, the most recent move out-related update on the college website’s Coronavirus update page repeats the message in this email.
Despite the message stating that students would “not be permitted” to pick up belongings on campus due to “recent directives from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf,” and despite information posted on the college website, students had still been receiving calls from residence hall directors to retrieve belongings.
"At this time, we have received the proper permissions to have our very structured and scheduled move outs continue." - Bob Baum
Senior Kayla VanTassel had been scheduled to move out her belongings on the evening of Thursday, March 26 after being contacted by her RHD.
The day after moving out her belongings, VanTassel said she received another email from her RHD akin to the March 20 email which she said suggested the campus was “closed again,” making her suspect a disconnect between varying information provided to students
Bob Baum, dean of students, stated on April 6 that students are currently able to move belongings out of residence halls, just “on a very limited basis.”
“As restrictions in the county have changed, we have adapted,” Baum said. “At this time, we have received the proper permissions to have our very structured and scheduled move outs continue.”
When asked what changed to make these move outs permitted and when, Baum repeated this above response.
According to Baum, RHDs will reach out to students to retrieve their belongings “as times become available on the schedule.” Residence Life staff can schedule one family per hall at a time. Students with emergency situations may also request to move out if not yet contacted by an RHD. According to Baum on April 6, “about half of all resident belongings are still on campus,” meaning there were hundreds of students who had not yet cleared out dorm room possessions by that date.
“We ask that students try to complete their move outs in approximately one hour, and to bring only one or two adults to assist, and to take care not to come if they are ill, and not to bring anyone who is ill with them,” stated Baum.
Baum said that upon clearing out belongings, students can find express checkout envelopes in residence hall lobbies with directions attached. Dorm and mail keys can be placed in the envelope.
During her move out, VanTassel was surprised to find security patrolling the hallways.
Baum said that while there is “very limited staff on campus,” the Public Safety officers are present “to support students and families.”
"We hope all our students and their families are doing well, and we want to remind them that Saint Vincent College is here to provide support." - Bob Baum
As a result of limited staff and students, VanTassel said that the campus was “completely empty,” referring to it as “scary.”
In recognition of the COVID-19 situation still developing, Baum said he encourages members of the Saint Vincent College community to check the COVID-19 page on the Saint Vincent College website to access resources and updates.
“We hope all our students and their families are doing well, and we want to remind them that Saint Vincent College is here to provide support,” said Baum.
The Review reached out to the assistant director of residence life with further questions about the details of the move out process, who forwarded questions to Baum. At the time of publication there have been no further responses.