For the many students who lived in the Holiday Inn or Dadeland Marriott last semester, moving onto campus was something to be excited about.
Jessica Feldman, a third-year transfer student, lived in the Marriott last semester and was looking forward to calling Pearson Residential College home.
“I enjoyed my semester at the Marriott thoroughly, but was excited to move onto campus because the commute was a hassle and last semester was my first year at Miami as a transfer student,” Feldman said. “I was looking forward to meeting new people and experiencing UM from a different viewpoint.”
Before leaving for winter break, Feldman moved most of her belongings into her new dorm room. When she got back, however, most of her things had been donated to goodwill-without her knowledge.
“My immediate initial reaction when I walked into the empty room was complete shock, but I remember thinking to myself, ‘OK, maybe I didn’t really move any of my stuff in here’ because I was trying to mentally compensate and explain why none of my possessions were in the room,” Feldman said.
Moving vans were available to assist students move their things from the hotels to on campus residences. Feldman, however, made prior arrangements with the girls who were occupying her Pearson room at the time. She used a friend’s car to move her belongings because she was scheduled to fly home for the holidays before the vans would be available.
“I have not received an apology or really a showing of remorse or sympathy from anyone involved.”
“I asked the Residence Hall staff if it would be a problem that I had already moved my stuff in and wouldn’t be around when the other girls moved out, but was assured there would be no issue,” she said.
Despite these assurances, Feldman’s belongings were mistakenly donated anyway. Jon Baldessari, associate director of the Department of Residence Halls, said items are donated when a student abandons his or her belongings, usually at the end of the school year.
“We’ll usually store the student’s items for 90 days and then send a notification to their home address to let them know their things are being stored if they still want them,” Baldessari said.
Although the Department of Residence Halls was unable to comment specifically on Feldman’s case, Baldessari did say that “Jessica’s case is unique and different where she was moving from a hotel to on campus during the middle of the school year.”
Feldman was instructed to make a detailed list of everything that was stored in the room and is expecting to receive a compensatory check. She says she is not completely satisfied with the way things were handled by the Department of Residence Halls.
“I have not received an apology or really a showing of remorse or sympathy from anyone involved, so it’s been very frustrating,” Feldman said.
Feldman says the estimated value of everything that was donated totaled $4,000 and included sentimental items that simply can’t be replaced.
“There were items like pictures of my baby nephew, jewelry and a pendant from my grandmother who passed away when I was six that are irreplaceable to me,” she said. “No amount of money or my time purchasing new things will make up for what happened.”
Angelique Thomas can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.