OP/ED: Summer Dormers struggled without Refund

They say summer time is the best time for a good holiday, but this was the exact opposite for students who stayed in the Mercy College dorms for the summer 2011 due to an eviction notice they all received on Aug. 15.

The heat wave was unbearable in the dorms, especially because there is no air conditioning in the buildings. Even with two or three fans, they couldn’t blow away the 100 degree temperatures. Day in and day out the students braved the heat wave as the temperatures soared. Students sought refuge in the lounge room, the only place to escape the burning heat, but even that was not enough.

As if the heat were not torture enough, letters were distributed in the first week of August asking students to leave the dorms on Aug. 15 to make way for workers who were going to renovate the buildings. Students were utterly shocked, upset, angry and disgusted with the notice.

Before being residents at Mercy, students were required to sign a contract. These contracts were signed before students moved in for their summer stay, but Residential Life did not find trouble in breaking this contract and asking the students to move out.

The reason the Residential Life office gave for asking the students to leave was that they wanted to renovate the dorms, and that is well and good. Yet what should have been done was tell to students before agreeing to the contract that they would only be accommodated until Aug. 15, so that the students could have an alternative instead of bombarding them with an eviction letter with only a week to go.

Residential life should have attached students’ refund checks to the eviction letters. It is wrong to ask people who have paid for their stay to live without their refund, as some students needed that refund to pay for other accommodation.

“They have to be considerate to the fact that some students live on the other side of the planet,” says Jelyn and Loren, who were among the students asked to go. Some of the students were especially  bitter with Residential life for failing to give them their refund checks at the appropriate time. Some of them got their checks weeks after they had moved out after several calls to the office. Some are still receiving them in mid-semester.

Does Mercy teach a course about the legality of contracts?

–          Anne Rugumba