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Montclair State University Urges Students to Vacate Their Dorms

by Erin Downey

Updates as of Saturday, March 21:

  • The university will not charge additional fees or penalize students who need more time to move. Students who require more time can make a request to Residence Life.

Montclair State University announced to all students to pack up their belongings and move off campus late afternoon on Wednesday, March 18, unless they had special circumstances.

One of the factors prompting the university to ask students to leave is a request by the National Guard to leave college dorms empty in case they might be needed for an increase in COVID-19 cases, according to Erika Bleiberg, the university’s media relations director.

“We have been asked to be ready for the possibility that the National Guard may need to transform college dorms into isolation rooms or extra hospital beds in case of a surge in cases,” Bleiberg said.

Students help each other move their belongings near Machuga Heights.
Mackenzie Robertson | The Montclarion

Montclair State has given its residents until Sunday, March 29 to collect their belongings and check out. Different residence halls have checkout times for students before the final time on Sunday.

Failure to check out by Sunday will result in additional fees, checkout fees and lock change fees applied to their student account. At this time, the school remains in discussion regarding refunds for housing, meal plans and parking.

A student packs up his things near Dinallo Heights.
Mackenzie Robertson | The Montclarion

Montclair State students that do not have another place to live, a means out of the country or state or cannot live off campus for any other reasons are allowed to continue their campus residence. Students must fill out a survey informing the campus of their reasons for staying.

Students are required to remove all personal belongings from the residence halls.
Mackenzie Robertson | The Montclarion

“We have asked students to move out of the residence halls if they have another place to live and have appropriate access to the internet so they can do their coursework,” Bleiberg said.

This is the most recent measure Montclair State has taken to ensure the health and safety of students. This is due to the recent advancements of COVID-19 that have affected the nation and campus life. Many schools in New Jersey have already sent students home that do not have reasons for remaining on campus.

Along with this message, Montclair State sent an announcement detailing two additional cases of employees confirmed to have COVID-19, with these employees having last been on the campus on Friday, March 6 and Thursday, March 12. Both employees are currently recovering at home at this time.

There are posters all around Dinallo Heights with “hygiene tips.”
Ben Caplan | The Montclarion

Despite the university’s efforts to keep students up to date, some wish the school did more to contact its students and keep them better up to date with the changing conditions.

Catherine Bellis, a junior business administration major, feels the emails from the university are just not enough.

“I believe [Montclair State] failed to communicate with its community,” Bellis said. “We get generic emails every day with essentially no direction. I personally expected so much more from a university as big as [Montclair State].”


The initial email detailed a short time frame that students had to gather their belongings and move out in, which left some students feeling overwhelmed. However, a second email from Residence Life extended the time to Sunday, giving students more time to arrange moving plans.

Montclair State has given students until Sunday, March 29 to collect their belongings and check out.
Mackenzie Robertson | The Montclarion

Alexandra Gregory, a junior business administration major, expressed her concern over the inconvenience of moving out on a deadline.

“It’s really hard to find the time to actually go to campus and move out,” Gregory said. “So many other colleges in the U.S. are closed, but the university chose to stay open even longer.”

On Saturday, March 21 the headline was changed from “Montclair State University Announces All Students to Vacate their Dorms” to “Montclair State University Urges Students to Vacate Their Dorms.”

The lead of the story was changed to reflect that the request from the National Guard was one of many factors the university was considering when asking students to leave. 

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