As Thanksgiving break got underway last Tuesday, students were required to leave their dorms by six o’ clock at night. Though these dates were on the assignment letters emailed out in the spring, many students were surprised when they got emailed reminders a few weeks ago.
“Homewood Schools has scheduled the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as part of the Thanksgiving break since Fall 2009,” Dean of Homewood Enrollment and Academic Services William Conley said.
Tracey Angel, the director of housing and conference services, explained that students had ample time to make travel arrangements and the opportunity to stay on-campus if absolutely necessary.
“Anyone who let us know that they had classes Tuesday night or flights for Wednesday morning were put on a list, and were allowed to stay until 10am on Wednesday morning,” she said. “Residential Life handled all of these contacts. The close down dates and times were listed on the housing contracts that were signed last Spring. They were in the assignment letters that were emailed over the summer, are on the housing calendars distributed at move in and reminders were sent earlier this month.”
Some students were negatively affected by the abrupt dismissal from the dorms.
“I would have liked to stay in my room, especially since I had a professor schedule a midterm on Monday, so the earliest I could leave was Tuesday. I was flying to California, and just flying to and from California is basically two wasted days,” freshman Sheehan Hsu said. “It was just silly; I didn’t know we could stay on Wednesday, but it wouldn’t have made a difference since I didn’t have a place to go through Sunday.”
Freshman Brandon Weber agrees.
“It almost affected me, as I originally couldn’t get a ride until two hours past when we should have left by, but my ride ended up being able to show up earlier,” he said. “I don’t think we should have been kicked out of the dorms just so that we didn’t have to pony up a few extra hundred dollars, since most other universities have no similar policy for Thanksgiving break. I wasn’t aware that we could stay an extra night. I just thought that the jcards were deactivated and that was it.”
Other students, however, were untouched by the policy’s repercussions.
“I didn’t mind personally, as I took a flight out that afternoon, so I just left campus after my last class,” sophomore Samira Hassan said. “I understood the liability involved, which explained why the school had such strict adherence to when students had to be out. At the same time though, leaving the dorms wasn’t a huge issue for me. I understand that there were others though who weren’t aware of the situation and had to change their travel plans.”
Freshman Chris Mogni points out some positives as well.
“I suppose the policy saves the school money and saved them the time of hiring people over Thanksgiving to keep things running. It’s definitely a positive for the school,” he said. “In addition, it’s a positive for students because it gave them a definite time frame that they were off for, and everyone in an ideal world should know that they had Tuesday night through Sunday night off. For people that knew about what was going on it wasn’t a big issue, though I was personally inconvenienced.”
Freshman Jay DeYoung suggests that more advertising might have solved the conflict between students and housing services.
“I left on Friday, so the policy didn’t affect me. The only change I would make is to post mandatory ‘get-out-of-dorms’ dates all over the dorms (ex: security desk, floor doors) so we couldn’t forget,” he said. “Overall, I still think it was reasonable on their part.”
Freshman Eric Wan suggested moving Thanksgiving break altogether.
“I felt it was inconsiderate to toss us out on a weekday. I had to cancel classes Tuesday, because even though I live in Maryland, my parents could pick [me] up only on Monday night,” he said. “Next year, they should just take the weekend before to let us leave.”
Some students even had classes canceled to accommodate for the holiday. “I had bio lab section cancelled for the whole week, just because the other sections couldn’t meet. I also had biology workshop cancelled, so we had to do a virtual class instead of going to the actual classroom,” freshman Ryan Bickley said.
“I only had Conversations with the Earth on Tuesday and it was cancelled because the professor teaches in sets of two lectures and didn’t want to cut one in half,” freshman Amanda Feinman said.