Queen’s to open 300 additional spots in residence

Deposit refunds to be issued to students who aren’t given a room

The maximum number of students in residence will remain below 2,300. 

An additional 300 students will be accommodated in Queen’s residences in the winter term.

In consultation with Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health, the University set a cap of 2,300 students for residence occupancy—half of the usual capacity.

Currently, there are about 1,900 students living in residence. In June, 1,700 additional students had expressed interest in being considered for residence in the winter term.

According to Leah Wales, executive director of Housing and Ancillary Services, “many” of these students have withdrawn their residence applications throughout the fall and received full refunds for their $525 deposit. 

In August, the University announced most first-year courses will be delivered remotely in the winter.  

“As faculties have now confirmed that academic delivery will continue to be largely remote next term, we anticipate that the significant majority of these remaining 1,700 students are no longer interested in a space in residence for the winter term,” Wales wrote in a statement to The Journal.

Those who applied to live in residence in the winter term received an email on Oct. 29 with updated instructions. They were told to confirm their interest in residence by Nov. 5. 

Those who don’t meet this deadline will be taken out of the running for one of the additional spots and refunded their deposit during the week of Nov. 16. 

Students will receive notice of whether they’ve secured a room in residence during the week of Nov. 30 and will have until Dec. 3 to accept their room assignment.

READ MORE: Students in residence encouraged to limit social circle to five people

Winter term move-in will take place on Jan. 8 and 9. The additional students will be integrated into vacancies across the 10 residence buildings that are already open, following the current “household” model.

“Depending on level of interest, we may open one additional building, however maximum number of students in winter will remain below 2,300,” Wales wrote.

Only nursing students are required to be on campus in the winter term, so they will be prioritized for the additional spots. Should the number of students who confirm interest in residence exceed the number of spots left, the remaining spots will be filled by lottery.

The pandemic safety guidelines are still in place in residence buildings, including mandatory masks, a no-guest policy, and limited capacity in common spaces.

When students originally applied for residence in the summer, they were told they would get their deposit back should they not get a room.

In an Oct. 29 email to applicants obtained by The Journal, however, the University stated “deposits are non-refundable after November 5 at 4:30pm EST, whether you receive a space in residence for the winter term or you do not.”

In a follow-up email sent that afternoon, Housing and Ancillary Services clarified that “students who confirm continued interest by the Nov 5th, 4:30 pm EST deadline, but do not receive a room offer, will have their deposit refunded in late January.”

“If we are in the position that we are unable to offer a space to all those who express continued interest, these students will have their deposits returned in January,” Wales wrote. 

“This was a point that was not made clear in our initial communication and when questions arose we immediately issued a clarification.” 

Students who decline their room assignments or fail to move in will not receive a deposit refund. 

READ MORE: Students in residence “generally” following pandemic safety guidelines

Peter Kuitenbrouwer’s son Frits, ArtSci ’24, is on the waiting list for winter term residence. 

In an interview with The Journal, Kuitenbrouwer said the University’s original communication to not refund deposits to students who don’t get a room was “outrageous,” “sloppy,” and “hypocrisy of the highest order.”

After receiving the first email, he reached out to Housing and Ancillary Services to inquire about the refund policy.

“They have at least reassured us [that we will be refunded our deposit] now, although I had to spend a lot of my time trying to find somebody who would listen,” Kuitenbrouwer said. “It felt at that point like I was disrespected.”

“We’re all trying to muddle through a very unpredictable and unfamiliar environment with COVID-19—I get that. I just want to be treated with respect.”

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