Bishop’s to close residences, refund students

By Gordon Lambie

With the announcement on Sunday that schools in Quebec will continue to remain closed until at least May 1, Bishop’s University has decided to close its residences after all, effective March 25. According to Bishop’s University communications director Olivier Bouffard, however, the school is far from kicking its students out. “We’re not going to put anyone on the street,” Bouffard said. “No one is going to be asked to leave unless they have somewhere safe to go.”
When speaking with The Record last week, Bouffard pointed out that almost all of the students in residence had already left. Those who remained did so out of particular need or circumstance. “Some of them figured they had paid for a semester of a meal plan and rent until the normal end of the exam schedule, so we are announcing that we will be refunding them for what they have paid for but will not be get.” According to a memo sent out to students by BU Principal Michael Goldbloom on Sunday, this refund will apply to all students, regardless of when they left residence, as of March 25. “The idea is essentially to remove any obstacle for students who were staying.”
That said, not all obstacles to leaving are financial. “There could be an international student where international travel is not possible, or someone whose family is already in isolation, for instance,” the communications director said. “If your home is quarantined then obviously we don’t want people to go back to those kinds of situations.”
In order to ensure the safety of these students in exceptional circumstances, the school has left the door open to what Bouffard referred to as “a small minority” of residents who need to stay. These individuals need to make their case to the Dean of Student Affairs and receive written permission to remain on campus. The letter from the principal notes that even this exception may end if required by the public health authorities. “The message is, you should be going home” Bouffard said. The Université de Sherbrooke posted a message on its website Friday inviting students currently in residence to return home or find another option. Similar to Bishop’s however, the message does note that no one will be kicked out. Asked for comment on the situation, Champlain College’s Lennoxville Campus Director Nancy Beattie simply said that the matter was under discussion on Monday. “We are not moving to close at this time,” she said. “Legally students do have leases until mid-May.” Published in the Tuesday, March 24 edition of The Record.

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