Opinion | Pitt’s administrative failures cost students thousands, and compensation is needed

Every time it looks like the coronavirus crisis is getting worse, it gets worse for some of us.

For most university students like me, the biggest problem was the inconvenience of adapting to online education and social distance. Others, including many postgraduates, have experienced a loss of income and opportunities for internships and summer work. At Pitt, some students on campus were promised partial refunds if they moved thousands of dollars of lost property at the beginning of the period in which Pitt employees dumped their belongings.

I was one of them and I’m still waiting for more information on compensation. It would be reasonable to expect a full recovery after what happened.

Last week the university decided that Panther Hall, a dormitory on the upper campus, had to be transformed into a facility for the local medical community during the Covid 19 crisis. At the time of this decision, some students had not yet taken their belongings out of the dormitory – among them is Your humble servant.

I had no reason to believe that I would come back to find my dormitory, which is empty in the state I found it in August, just like all the other rooms in the hallway. After all, the university informed the students that they would receive a 30% refund if they stayed at the university between the ages of 21 and 30. Mars and the 3rd. The April move. The 29th. In March I returned to the hostel – at least until 3 pm. April.

That day I spent a few hours in the basement of the building and I received calls from the administration who assured me that my belongings had been moved safely to another location. It wasn’t until I read an article in The Pitt News in which the university admitted and apologized for throwing away some of the belongings of the residents of the Panther Hall that I realized it wasn’t true.

Before that, on the 19th. In March, the university administration had announced the decision to make the Lotrop space available for the same purpose, but only the possibility of providing additional rooms was considered. The university has never officially announced that the Pantherhalle and other buildings will also be used for this purpose.

The campus residents were not only told to stay on campus until 3 a.m. they were also told to stay on campus until 3 a.m. April needs to be compensated if she moves, but Pitt also said she could still pick up her stuff after that date – she simply wouldn’t receive compensation.. It is precisely this kind of ineffective and incoherent communication that must be avoided in such public health crises. Pitt should require students on campus to leave the premises a few weeks ago and possibly move to temporary accommodation if it is possible that students may have to leave several buildings in total.

Apart from the fact that he cannot say that what happened in Lotrop occurred in my hometown, Mr Pitt has not yet given me a clear answer to the question of how much I will receive in compensation for properties worth more than $3,000 that have been thrown away without warning. Before the spring break it took me a lot of time to find out what I had in the dormitory, and even more time to estimate its value, both because some things were bought at reduced prices that may no longer be available, and because others had a personal value that cannot be quantified.

When you read the Opinion section a few weeks ago, you saw my – albeit short – thumbnail of my Hawaiian shirt collection. According to my current information, at least five of these shirts – including the first one I ever owned – were among the victims.

When I got the last count of the items I owned, I remembered the pictures and looked at them. I missed a guitar that I had for over four years without damage, an old laptop that still contained important data from almost all economic books – only a dozen of them – a few textbooks borrowed from the Hillman Library, and a set of clothes for a dress with shirts, ties, jackets and even a suit at reasonable and expensive prices.

The frustration of having to buy back properties that should not have been lost is certainly one of the mildest side effects of this crisis in our personal lives. I didn’t lose any supplies or valuable family relics.

What I have really lost, however, is confidence in the institutions’ ability to cope with the current situation. It is unacceptable for the university to throw away my things and the other students’ things after they first said they would be kept safe and after all students were promised to come and get their things for the whole semester. The lack of coordination between the administration and the students is unforgivable.

Michael Clifford writes about politics and economic policy. Write to Michael at [email protected]pitt news sports,university of pitt news,pitt news archives,pitt daily,pitt news football,the pitt news opinions,pitt news sgb,university of pittsburgh protest today