Life as a Lion is going to look wildly different in the fall semester. For the majority of students, education will be conducted exclusively online, health and safety regulations will be heavily enforced on the campus and the University will only house 30% of its normal capacity for on-campus living. Many students have been left scrambling to find a plan for what to do in the fall.
Dan Gould, a rising sophomore film and television production major, had previously been assigned to a suite in McKay residence hall with three other people. On June 26, he was informed that he had lost his housing due to the fact that the building will be turned into a COVID isolation unit in the fall semester.
Now that the University is likely no longer providing him with housing, Gould plans on staying in his hometown and taking a leave of absence for the fall semester. “[It] does not seem worth it to go back [to LMU] right now,” said Gould.
In addition to McKay being turned into an isolation unit, the seven traditional residence halls—Del Rey North, Del Rey South, Desmond, Doheny, Whelan, Rosecrans and the recently constructed Palm North—have been closed for the fall semester, according to the LMU COVID reopening plan.
Zoie Stanton, a senior psych major, was assigned to be a Resident Advisor (RA) for the upcoming academic year in Tenderich apartments. According to her, it has not yet been discussed how the reduced capacity of on-campus housing will affect the number of available positions for RAs. She is unsure of whether or not she still has the job.
“I have accepted [the possibility of] being denied the position [on-campus] because I am from LA so I can easily live at home … I also have to consider the safety of myself with living in on-campus housing and the pandemic. I am very willing to give up my position for the fall for someone who needs the position due to their personal circumstances,” said Stanton.
Students eligible to be housed on-campus, also according to LMU’s plan, are “undergraduate students who are unable to effectively study from off-campus, undergraduate students requiring on-campus disability accommodations, students who are housing-insecure, international students who are currently in the U.S. without off-campus housing options and undergraduate students enrolled in in-person and hybrid experiences without off-campus options.”
According to Student Housing, if a student believes that they fall into one of the categories or are “experiencing extenuating circumstances that warrant special consideration for limited on-campus housing, [they] must log in to the Student Housing portal and complete a supplemental application by 5 p.m. on July 22.”
Students who had been expecting to live on-campus in the fall are not the only ones now struggling to figure out where to live. John Lahey, a rising junior communications major, was supposed to be studying in Italy this fall.
“The moment COVID-19 problems surfaced, LMU immediately encouraged us to indulge in the impossible. We were told to prepare for both our study abroad programs and a possible return to LMU … Naturally, I didn’t do any of that. Instead I clung to the hope everything would be fine and I would get to go to Italy. Now I am paying the price,” said Lahey.
Guthrie Theodore, a rising junior screenwriting major, also had planned on studying abroad in the fall. In late June, Theodore received an automated notification from the Madrid program stating that he could now choose a host family to live with in the fall. The next day, he got an email from LMU saying that the program was suspended.
According to Theodore, it is unclear whether or not the abroad programs will happen in the spring, but that if they do, acceptance to the program will roll over.
In addition to reduced capacity for housing, other changes have been made to campus life in order to prioritize the safety of students and faculty. Anyone coming onto campus is required to submit a Lion Health Check before entry, masks are required both indoors and outdoors (even if you are alone), six feet of distance between people is required at all times and more.
“I understand that LMU is probably being plagued with phone calls from people in similar situations to me but I think it would be helpful if I didn’t get sent to voicemail when I asked to talk to the [Office of the Registrar],” said Gould.