Cal Lu’s Res Life is Making the Students Their Priority During the Pandemic

Jaclyn Holtz, Reporter

With the current COVID-19 situation causing panic around the globe, one of the largest populations that have been neglected by many institutions is college students–nevertheless, California Lutheran University has ensured that their students are top priority amidst the pandemic. 

According to a 2019 study by The Hope Center, 17% of the college students that were surveyed were homeless and more than half experienced housing insecurity during the past year.  

Amidst all of the chaos that has ensued in the past month, many different notorious universities have announced that they are asking all students to vacate on-campus housing. However, Cal Lutheran has handled the situation better than many other universities. 

As a resident in Cal Lutheran housing, I was getting updates via email about the changes that were happening in regard to on-campus housing. Cal Lutheran was slow to respond in the transition to online instruction in comparison to many universities I was reading about, which had caused many students and professors to panic about the plan for the rest of the semester. 

However, as far as the housing portion of campus operations is concerned, I felt that they handled everything appropriately. Although they asked students to move out of housing as soon as possible, I did not think there was any immense pressure. 

“I personally contacted Residence Life because as an international student I wanted to know my options. They were very fast to respond and very understanding,” McKenzie Kelly, an international student at Cal Lutheran said. 

There are many students at Cal Lutheran who rely on their on-campus housing during the whole year, and aren’t able to move home or off-campus due to various circumstances. The university did a sufficient job in making sure that those students who needed to remain in on-campus housing were able to, as long as they contacted Residence Life.

Some of the other institutions that allowed for students to stay on campus if there were extenuating circumstances included Cornell University, Liberty University, and Boston University.

I thought that this was very important, because some universities such as The Massachusetts Institute of Technology had a very narrow window of time in which students were expected to be off campus. 

There were few extreme circumstances in which they would consider allowing students to stay on campus. 

Boston College in Massachusetts told students on March 11 that they had until March 15 to leave campus. In order to remain on-campus students needed to get written permission, but there was no guaranteed housing security for students. 

Instances like this shocked me and made me grateful to attend a university that was making sure it was doing everything that it could in order to take care of its students. Many of my peers at universities across the nation were not fortunate enough to have had that same experience. 

“I know some students did not want to leave or felt that Cal Lutheran was a safer or better option than home. As far as I know they have accommodated… these students and have not pressured them to move out,” Kelly said. 

Another concern of students who live in on-campus housing was how the university would handle reimbursements on housing. The university has explained that they will be pro-rating the housing for six of the 15 weeks that the housing was used. Students who left their belongings on campus, but have not been able to return will also be able to receive prorated housing.    

In regard to students who had meal plans through Sodexo at Cal Lutheran, they will also have their meal credits applied to summer or fall semester for students that will be continuing. Students who will not be returning to campus will be able to receive refunds through direct deposit or check.  

Though this is a situation that is new to universities throughout the country, Cal Lutheran is doing a good job in making sure that its students’ needs are taken care of.