Provide Accomodations for moved 175 Jefferson students

Provide Accomodations for moved 175 Jefferson students

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Preston Sergent started this petition

Situational Overview

We, the residents of 175 Jefferson, have concerns as to how our move from our current place of residence to increase quarantine capacity is being addressed. We understand that the omicron variant has spread to our campus, cities, and communities. We also understand that accommodating a large in-person population on campus during a peak of a pandemic is difficult and requires cooperation from everyone involved. However, we believe forcing us to move on such short notice would place unnecessary burdens and complications on the current residents. These include additional transportation costs, added commute time, and the cost of an RIT meal plan alongside the cost of meals offered at the Strathallan that are currently not payable using the meal plan. As it stands, the scheduled moving period occurs during class hours which would force residents to choose between moving and attending classes. We stipulate that additional, reasonable compensation and concessions be given to those who are moved. We also insist that those who have accommodations approved by the Disability Services Office that are either not present or not allowed within either of the available options be given the option to remain residing within the 175 Jefferson property, in a room that is compliant to their accommodations as mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Because of the 79 hours notice we were given, and six to eight weeks (potentially longer) of additional inconvenience and elevated living costs, the residents of 175 Jefferson are proposing the compensation and concessions listed below for their cooperation.

The Moving Company and Liability

RIT should use a reputable moving company who carries a current and comprehensive insurance policy to safeguard against damages that they’re liable for during this hasty move. Additionally, a moving resident should have the ability to opt-out of receiving help moving their items as soon as possible. Moving is not only a hassle, but also increases our exposure to others, and hence the chance that COVID could spread throughout the community, which is an even bigger risk compounded with the high transmissibility rates found in the prevalent omicron variant. We also insist that moving supplies be supplied to students in a timely fashion, so their move can progress smoothly.

Available Funds and Access to Food

A student staying at the Strathallan should receive a housing refund equivalent to 20% of the total cost of their 175 Jefferson rent as well as $100 upfront. This number is equivalent to the combined cost of mileage to/from the hotel 3 times (at the NYS rate of $0.575/mile, totalling 24 miles, or $13.80), and the average cost of 2 breakfasts, lunches, and dinners at the hotel restaurant ($10, $15, and $19 respectively). Due to the timing and nature of the move, eating at the hotel restaurant would be an additional but necessary expense that would be paid out-of-pocket.

The Strathallan offers two restaurants, a 24/7 market, and vending machines, but none of those food services are currently accessible using the meal plan that is currently required by RIT.

No student should reasonably have to stack up on food, especially given the fact they’re riding a bus and the 8 mile distance between the main campus and the Strathallan hotel. It should also not be expected that a student goes to campus every day, including weekends, nor be expected to spend money at the hotel out of pocket.

Possible solutions to the lack of dining-dollar available options at the Strathallan include, but are not limited to:

  • The option to cancel the meal plan already ordered for the spring semester without fees or penalty
  • The option to select a commuter meal plan such as the stripes or claws plan without fees or penalty.
  • An ability to convert existing dining dollars into hotel-usable money.
  • The installation of a dining dollar accepting vending machine at location.
  • The biweekly distribution of ‘Care Packages’/’Snack Boxes’ akin to those distributed at 175 Jefferson Rd. on September 3rd, 2021.

For those relocated to APEX, they should be able to have the same meal plan selection as those who permanently reside at APEX.

Available Shuttles and Access to Transportation

Per RIT, starting Monday January 10th, shuttles will run hourly from 7am-10pm to the Strathallan. This puts many with 8am classes at risk of missing them if weather conditions are poor or if traffic is heavy. We need to ensure that bus service is provided from 6:00 am-midnight to transport all moved students to and from the RIT campus and Strathallan hotel reliably and safely. Two shuttles should travel this route to allow for appropriate social distancing. If a shuttle, for any reason, is out of service, RIT should make other arrangements with transportation companies to provide timely service to campus. Possible solutions include:

  • Uber codes or gift cards
  • Dispatching additional RIT vans and shuttles in the event of an incident

We should be notified by email within an hour of RIT being notified that the shuttle is out of service in order to find other accommodations or be informed of those provided by RIT. Shuttles should also be outfitted with a tracker, and trackable using the RIT or Transloc app.

Students should not have to miss any academic or athletic meetings occurring on campus because of shuttle delays or cancellations.

Move-Out Flexibility and Checking Out

The email said our stay would be “six to eight weeks,” however this would create a logistical nightmare as we would have moved in three times and subsequently moved out three times. A possible solution would be for us to stay at the hotel for the entire semester, with a standard ‘Move-Out Week” happening May 1st - May 8th, 2022. Much like we do already, students who remain at the Strathallan hotel or APEX for this time period should select what day they want to move out on MyLife and leave accordingly.

If our return within six to eight weeks is unavoidable, we ask that the moving period take place during a set of days where classes or exams do not take place. We insist that the rooms must be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, additionally, the room should be left vacant for a week as a safety precaution against the spread of COVID-19. The room should also be inspected to account for both surface, structural, and functional damage done to the room and safety concerns present. Damage done that renders the following items unusable without temporary modifications should disqualify the room from being moved back into until the item is returned to its original, fully usable, state. These items include but are not limited to: the sink, lock(s), doors, lights, toilet, bath, shower, electrical outlets, microwave, refrigerator, or window(s). 

Help packing up and moving must also be provided if we are required to relocate before the semester’s end.

In Closing

Our unexpected move from 175 Jefferson is a shock to many, especially with only 79 hours of notice. We realize that COVID-19 has caused many complications and concerns to arise. We understand and are willing to make sensible compromises to ensure the safety of our community. We also believe that the above accommodations and concessions are fair and reasonable for all parties involved. These concessions will allow for a maintained standard of living for those affected by the move from 175 Jefferson. They will also allow for the affected students to remain connected with campus and continue to contribute to the communities that make RIT the school it is. Throughout the pandemic and time we’ve been at RIT, we have always been proud that we could unite as tigers to contribute to the common good. We look forward to your response and updated policies regarding our relocation.

32 have signed. Let’s get to 50!