As the semester wraps up, the policy on check-out times for on-campus housing is again producing complaints and criticism. Why 10 a.m. on Friday instead of noon or three p.m.? Why midnight on Sunday for graduating seniors and their siblings? Why can’t friends stay for graduation? These and other questions are common amongst students this time of year.
Such criticisms and complaints are reasonable. If you have a Thursday final, it can be a squeeze to say good-bye to friends and pack before 10 the next morning. What’s more, you really can’t take care of these things in advance. During the week, you have finals to study for, and the weekend before is too far in advance. You need those clothes, cooking utensils and food up until the day you leave – and advance good-byes just don’t cut it.
Graduating seniors are in a similar pinch. Commencement over, the graduates’ families head to the Old Mill Circus or a local restaurant to celebrate – until their graduate daughter has to hurry back to her student apartment to throw her stuff together. It seems like the last thing one would want to worry about with family and friends around.
And graduates’ friends – shouldn’t we encourage students to stay for graduation, or at least make it possible? Graduation is perhaps the most visible show of school spirit. Surely we’d like to make that experience available to fellow UD’ers, regardless of any blood relation to a graduate.
Though reasonable, these objections actually have reasonable answers, for the most part.
Many may not know this, but you can in fact stay for graduation, even if you are not related to a graduating senior, working the events or staying for Mayterm. You simply submit a request and, if it is granted, pay the going rate of $20/night until Sunday at midnight. Sure, no one wants to pay out of pocket, but you would be staying beyond what’s covered under your usual room-and-board costs, so it’s only fair.
The case-by-case approach to exceptions also makes sense. Undoubtedly, Student Life approves of current students attending graduation – but only if that’s actually why we want to stick around. Be honest: If we didn’t have to check out on Friday, we’d probably party Friday and Saturday nights and sleep through Commencement. No real harm done, but perhaps not the tone Student Life wants to promote during the graduation festivities. Needless to say, there have been problems in the past.
What’s more, the New Hall needs to be prepped for Mayterm starting the Tuesday after graduation, the Student Apartments need structural repairs, and the other dorms need to be cleaned and repaired. With the tight turnaround between the spring semester and Mayterm as well as the scale of repairs needed for the student apartments, work needs to begin soon after finals. And that means we have to be out of the way – at least in the case of the apartments and New Hall.
Perhaps the part of this policy that doesn’t make as much sense is the particular times. Certainly, facilities needs to begin working on the student apartments and prepping the New Hall and repairing the dorms, but would a few hours make that much of a difference? It certainly would for the students. Two or three p.m. on Friday would be far better than 10 a.m. for non-seniors, and noon on Monday would be far better than midnight on Sunday for graduates and their siblings.
It’s too late for any changes this semester, but perhaps this could be something to consider for future years. On the whole, these policies make a lot of sense – or at least more sense than we often give them credit for. The particular times, however, just seem a little hurried, and perhaps without a pressing need to be so.