An Urgent Message to the Colgate Administration from Off-Campus Students

An Urgent Message to the Colgate Administration from Off-Campus Students

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Kobi Grant started this petition to Vice President and Dean of the College of Colgate University Paul McLoughlin and

To the Administration of Colgate,

Living off-campus is a privilege allowed to us by Colgate University. We both acknowledge and wholeheartedly appreciate this. However, the relationship between college administration and its student body must be a partnership in its truest form. Partnerships require communication to the fullest extent on behalf of both parties. When Colgate released the information regarding off-campus students today, they did so less than 2 weeks before some students had already planned to move in. When the University released information on returning to campus a week ago, there was a chance to address off-campus students moving in. This is critical information, but for some reason was not addressed at all. In good faith, we wholeheartedly agreed to and signed the Commitment to Community Health, which failed to mention many of the restrictions now placed on us. As such, most off-campus students rightfully assumed we would be able to move in on the date agreed upon in our respective leases with our landlords. Additionally, we contacted the COVID-19 email address provided by the university to confirm that it was acceptable to move in. Dr. Miller responded herself to said question and further confirmed that we could move into our houses at our own discretion based on our leases. In turn, our families were caught incredibly off-guard by today’s information restricting when we are allowed to move in. Especially in these times, the jobs of our families are incredibly important; they cannot drop everything to drive up to campus. If Colgate had been more proactive and communicated effectively with students and parents throughout the summer - rather than releasing this information less than two weeks before our planned arrival - then families could have planned for this. Last-minute alterations to job schedules are simply non-negotiable at this point for essential and front-line workers, who have been overworked since the start of the pandemic to help society during these unfortunate times.

The information released today asserts that off-campus students have to abide by the same rules as all others. Of course, this makes sense. Yet, if this is so, why is the university not delivering meals to off-campus students with meal plans? This makes an unfair economic assumption that these students can afford to do this while already paying for a meal plan. Furthermore, today’s email blatantly assumes that student’s parents can change their work schedules at practically a moment's notice. This is out of touch and far from many of our realities. The administration has had plenty of time to communicate with our families about this but chose not to. In this sense, they failed to uphold the foundational partnership between students and administrators. 

The administration of Colgate University cannot claim to be working with students if they fail to communicate crucial information in a timely manner. Moreso, they cannot insist on off-campus students following the exact same guidelines as all other students if they fail to provide us with the same accommodations. Had we been communicated with, we would have been able to explain that moving in all our belongings along with 10 days of groceries is nearly impossible. We would also have been able to tell the Colgate Administration that some of us had received an email from Dr. Miller and gotten approval for moving in early at our own discretion.


We, therefore, request the following from Colgate University as soon as possible:

  • Provide delivered meals to off-campus students with meal plans, or develop a plan to ensure easy access to food for those living off-campus
  • Allow off-campus students to move in when they had planned on, which is when leases begin OR
  • Allow off-campus students to move in on the 21st and 22nd. This allows us time to move in before the student body, which makes it safer for everyone with fewer people moving in down the hill at once. 
  • When off-campus students arrive, allow them to go to the grocery store since it is impractical to be able to bring 10 days of groceries

We would appreciate an immediate response, as the duty of a College Administration is to do what is best for their students. What is best for us in this moment is your attention, transparency, and communication. 

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