EVANSVILLE — With thousands of University of Southern Indiana students rushing to move their belongings after hearing university housing has abruptly closed for the semester, some expressed stress with the process.
Students received an email Tuesday from USI Housing and Residence Life saying all students must move from campus housing by 6 p.m. Sunday.
The move is in accordance with USI President Ronald Rochon's decision to cancel in-person classes for the remainder of spring semester due to the potential spread of coronavirus.
In a written statement, USI Media Specialist Ben Luttrull said the university has implemented an effective move-out process aimed to reduce interaction with large crowds.
"In order to incorporate social distancing into the move-out process, we are asking students who are currently in their on-campus residence, regardless of their permanent location, to complete their move-out earlier to avoid crowds. Housing staff is working with residents to ensure that move-outs are scheduled and performed in a way that maintains social distancing where possible."
While USI senior Jesmelia Williams says she supports the school's preventative efforts, she feels students should have more time to move off campus.
"I think it could have been postponed to the end of the semester," she said. "However, I used to work for our housing department as a (residential assistant), and I believe they made the decision they felt was best."
Like Williams, Iroghene Oruahwo, a second-year engineering student, said the university made the best decision to ensure student and faculty safety — despite his feelings of discouragement.
"I think it’s heartbreaking and sudden because I was looking forward to finishing the spring semester at school and wasn’t expecting it to be over just like that," Oruahwo said. "But at the same time, it's necessary to help reduce the spread of this (disease).
"We have to help, and moving out is the best way to help."
Williams said she's fortunate to have the means to move off campus, but described the process as overwhelming. However, she says she's pleased knowing students will receive refunds because of their early departure from university housing.
Once his family drives to Evansville Thursday, Oruahwo said he will leave campus and head to Indianapolis to focus on finishing his online courses for the semester.
At the moment, Williams said she's looking for people to help her move back to her Alabama home. When she arrives, Williams said she will look to "expedite her post-graduation plans" by obtaining her French teaching certification and moving to Atlanta.