Thanksgiving housing fee irks foreign students

Quinnipiac to charge students $50 per day to stay during break

Chatwan Mongkol, News Editor

As Thanksgiving approaches, sophomore biomedical science major Yamna Siddiqui plans to stay in her dorm during the holiday break because it’s too expensive to go back home to Niamey, Niger. That means she could be paying as much as $500 to remain on campus.

Quinnipiac University will charge students $50 per day if they wish to stay in their dorms during Thanksgiving break. International students who have no choice but to stay are unhappy with the policy.

Connor Lawless

“International students (who) cannot leave campus should not have to pay the fee,” Siddiqui said. “The payment is by force since the students do not have a choice.”

Students who live on campus received an email from Residential Life on Oct. 7, that all university-owned housing will close from 6 p.m. on Nov. 19, to 10 a.m. on Nov. 28. Students can request to stay, leave later or come back earlier, but that comes with the fee.

“Even if I want to go elsewhere, I cannot since I do not have a car and cannot go back home for a few days,” Siddiqui said. “I have to live on campus.”

Siddiqui said the university should waive the fee for international students or at least give some sort of reward or reimbursement by providing food for them during the break.

“If laundry can be free, so can living on campus for a few days when students have no choice,” Siddiqui said.

Senior game design and development major Son Nguyen from Vietnam said he never had to pay in the past years for staying during Thanksgiving break. He plans to stay on campus this year too.

“I don’t understand why they start charging students staying over break,” Nguyen said. “This never happened before.”

Since the announcement of the fee came after Nguyen signed the housing contract for the break, he said there is nothing he can do besides paying.

“I already registered for staying,” Nguyen said. “But if I can cancel, I think I will find some Airbnb out there with my friends. Way more cheaper.” 

Another international student from Nigeria, sophomore political science major Zahra Murphy, said she plans to go stay with her aunt in Windsor, Connecticut, during the break. Even though she isn’t directly affected by the fee, she still said it’s not fair for international students.

“I’m lucky that my auntie lives here,” Murphy said. “But there are many international students that don’t have family close by, or they don’t have family here and don’t have anywhere to go.”

Murphy, who also is an international student senator in the Student Government Association, said she hasn’t heard any concerns directly from students but international student organizations on campus are working to get the fee waived.

“The International Students Association sent out a newsletter, and in the newsletter, they have this survey to gather trends and information to be able to waive it for the international students,” Murphy said. “I think that it’s a very big concern for international students.”

The Department of Cultural and Global Engagement (DCGE) emailed international students on Oct. 8, asking them to complete a survey about their plan for the break. The email stated that the DCGE is advocating that the university remove the fee for international students.

While Murphy prefers that Quinnipiac rescind the fee, she said the university should at least “drastically reduce” the price.

Associate Vice President for Public Relations John Morgan did not make anyone in the DCGE or Residential Life available for an interview.

“This fee is consistent, and in many cases, less than what other universities charge for staying in university-owned properties during a break period,” Morgan wrote in a statement.

Update 10/18/2021: The university rescinded its Thanksgiving housing fee policy on Oct. 18. There will be no charge for students who wish to stay during the break. Students requesting to stay must sign up before 5 p.m. on Nov. 11.