Don’t let the door hit you on the way out

UB should have made a clear initial statement about Campus Living


Over the last week, the world that we live in has changed considerably from what it was when we started this semester. 

But I don’t have to tell you that. 

Our classes shifted online, restaurants have been shutting down, we’ve been told not to leave our houses, we’re losing our jobs and for those of us on campus, we’re being forced to move out from a place that many of us call home.

The coronavirus has basically thrown a monkey wrench into everyone’s plans for the rest of the semester –– and beyond –– and we’re trying to deal with it the best that we can. 

But through all the confusion surrounding this, I don’t feel like UB has eased the stress of this inherently alarming situation.

A prime example of this is the recent stream of confusing communication about our dorms and apartments. 

Campus Living has changed its statement about on-campus living arrangements and campus operations a few times this week, and many of us still have questions about what steps to take to ensure our safety and the safety of our communities. 

First, we were told that we could still live on campus and should have our belongings here over spring break. As a result many made the decision not to permanently move out.

On Wednesday, after a series of press conferences and announcements from both our local, state and federal governments, UB made the decision to close campus housing starting on Sunday for everyone but those who could not make other arrangements. 

I was living on campus this semester, but my family fortunately lived close enough to campus where moving out earlier than intended was possible. But for those coming from a distance, this five-day time frame to get out is completely unrealistic.

On Wednesday, UB announced that a member of the UB community was diagnosed with COVID-19. In light of this news, UB has once again changed its statement related to student housing, now telling those who left their belongings here to not come back at all. 

I think it’s great that the university is trying to do its part to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but the school’s slew of mixed messages and emails has left more unanswered questions for those living on campus this semester. 

Should students be concerned about being exposed to COVID-19? What’s going to happen to my belongings? Should I get tested? What about students who can’t leave campus?

I don’t know all the answers, but I hope the mass confusion ends here.

From the first day Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced SUNY classes were going online, UB has sent out mixed and vague messages to both students and faculty. 

I realize that this is a confusing and ever-changing time for everyone, and that our school is just trying to make decisions in the best interest of the student body, but I don’t think I’m alone in saying that UB needs to stick to a plan of action for students living on campus. 

UB needs to answer student questions and put our minds at ease so that those most affected by the housing changes can go into our first week of “distance learning” with some things figured out.

Our world is changing. All I ask is for UB to hold the door while we leave behind our homes on campus, instead of letting ambiguity hit us on our way out. 

Isabella Fortunato is an assistant arts editor and can be reached at isabella.fortunato@ubspectrum.com and @im_fortunato.