Meredith encourages students to live on campus throughout their time at Meredith. Not only does Meredith offer on-campus housing during the academic year but also throughout the summer. While The Oaks Apartments are designated for students who have completed 60 credit hours or above, students below that credit range are allowed to sublease an apartment during the summer months. Students that already live at The Oaks are permitted to extend their contracts through the summer, even if they are seniors who have graduated.
The Herald has started a Housing Horrors series covering the experiences of students in on-campus housing. Since then, The Herald has received several reports from students expressing issues with housing at Meredith.
The following reports detail interactions with Residence Life in The Oaks. To protect the identities of the interviewees, pseudonyms will be used.
If you or someone you know has had a notably negative experience with Residence Life that you would like The Herald to cover, direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org or use our Submit-A-Tip section. To contact Residence Life directly, email email@example.com.
Zara, Spring of 2022
“My second semester [in The Oaks] was a steady process up until the last two months. I was trying to find someone to sublease my apartment. Once I did, we decided to make a meeting with The Oaks [apartment] manager. To start off, she was really late to the meeting. Throughout the meeting, we were asking the necessary questions and clarified any confusion we had about the moving out process and the move-in as well. The meeting was carried out with the same tone that she holds in every other conversation I've had with her—sharp and short responses and with her expecting you to know everything, when you're actually just a student barely [receiving] any information about the subleasing part of the contract.
“Once I moved out, I let both the student and the manager know that I was leaving some stuff behind since I'll be returning in the fall. Both agreed and said that it was totally fine. I was [then] notified that my personal belongings were to be thrown out to the garbage, if not picked up. I had stored these in my closet. In the pictures of my apartment that she sent out, my personal belongings were taken out of the closet and moved down to her office. She stated in the email (that wasn't sent to me but to another student) that if [the items] aren't picked up by the next night, then they'll be disposed of. Thankfully, the student reached out to her and let her know they were my personal belongings. So she proceeded to say that I have until the next night to pick them up. I don't necessarily have my own car or free time to make a two-hour trip to Raleigh in order to pick up my belongings that were taken out of my apartment.
“I let her know my situation and how I found it a bit humiliating how pictures of my personal belongings being out of place were sent to another student. I also brought up how we had the conversation on how I was leaving things behind in my apartment, which had me confused on why things have changed and why my things were now being thrown away. Her response to this was that since there wasn't a note on the things, she wasn't sure who it belonged to. Leading her to believe that it was okay to take them to the trash in the next 24 hours. My things were returned to my apartment by security, but due to the ‘quality’ of the box my things were in, they had to take them out of that box, move it to another box and then take it to the apartment.
“There was [another] issue that I had with one of the Community Assistants (CA). I was returning from class with my roommate, and we had been using the elevator that is in the main entrance because the elevator on our side wasn't working that entire week. When we came in, I was talking to my roommate about how I can't wait until they remove the elevator sign saying "Out of Order" and say it's fixed so we don't have to do the extra walking every time we leave The Oaks since we lived on the 3rd floor.
“The CA was on duty and was in the public space by the elevator. She started yelling my name and saying "Hey!" trying to get my attention, I looked over to her and I told her to give me one second since she had interrupted the conversation with my roommate by yelling. While I was trying to finish my conversation, which was literally a couple of words, she began to snap her fingers at me and say, ‘Hey I'm talking to you.’ By that time I was getting irritated so I asked what she needed from me, and she said, ‘Why hasn't the "Out of Order" sign been removed? That elevator is already working.’ I let her know that I wasn't sure why. Her response was ‘Well?’ as if she implied for me to remove it.
“I didn't respond to her since it wasn't my responsibility to remove signs that could cause an accident, I'm a resident, and she's a CA, both with very distinct responsibilities. I just let her know to not snap her fingers at me again and got on the main elevator. The next day, the ‘Out of Order’ sign was still there, so I'm glad I didn't listen to her.
“I honestly am just hoping that both the manager and the CAs are more compassionate to all of the students that literally live there. Being away from home, stressed with school and carrying on their personal life is already something difficult to deal with.”
Larissa, Summer of 2022
“The management alone honestly made me realize that I do not want to live in The Oaks again until the management becomes more professional. The first incident happened during the spring semester. I had been looking for a student who lived in The Oaks who I could sublease from so I could live on campus for summer school. Once I found a student, we both emailed [the apartment manager] Chyna [McQueen] to set up a meeting. She emailed back, and immediately asked if we could come to her office at 9 a.m. to fill out paperwork.
“I was confused on what paperwork she wanted us to sign, because I hadn’t been given any information about subleasing. It was strange to me because I was new to the subleasing process and I didn’t know where to begin. She was also late to the meeting, which was unfair to me and the student I was subleasing from. I told [McQueen] the exact day I would move off campus after I finished the spring semester. The only thing she asked me was ‘Where would [I] be living until [I moved into The Oaks]?’ and also told me to let her know when I was ready to pick up the keys for the apartment. After I had already finished my spring semester and moved back home, [McQueen] emailed me to ask when I was leaving campus and when I could come pick up the keys.
“I hadn't emailed her about the keys because the other student had not moved out yet and the keys were not ready for me to pick up. At this point, I had already moved off campus. I live an hour away from Meredith and I’m not able to drive myself, so it’s not fair for me to ask my parents to drop everything to come pick up the keys. It was frustrating because I emailed her the exact date I would move off campus after the spring semester. I also had three full weeks before I moved into The Oaks. Instead of asking me where I would be living when I moved out, she could have emailed me and the other student to set a date to pick up the keys. She was going out of town the weekend I was moving in, so I could not pick up my keys directly from her when I moved in.
“I went back and forth with her about when and where to pick up my keys. What happened in the end was that [McQueen] placed the keys in her office and told one of the RAs to unlock her office to give me the keys the day I moved in. However, when we got there, the RA wasn’t even able to unlock [McQueen]’s office and had to call campus security to unlock it for her. Then they spent at least 10-15 minutes in [McQueen]’s office trying to find my room key. The whole thing was very frustrating, because it seemed like such a simple problem that had simple solutions. It was also very unprofessional on [McQueen]’s side and the whole situation made me and my family feel ridiculous and embarrassed.
“I had another issue with getting my keys from [McQueen] towards the end of the summer semester. I work on Meredith's STAT Team. STAT team training takes place a week before school starts in the fall, which meant that I would need to move into the residence halls early. [McQueen] had originally sent out an email telling me that I would need to pick up my key for fall on August 5th. I’m not sure if other students in The Oaks were told this same information, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to pick up my dorm key on this date because I would be moving off campus by the end of July and I would be out of town the week of Aug. 5. I emailed [McQueen] three separate times telling her that I need to move in early into the Residence Halls and asking if I would be able to come pick up my key while I was still on campus for summer school. After going back and forth for a while, she asked me “if [I was] in need of moving in early,” and mentioned early move in for The Oaks.
“This was incredibly frustrating, because I had told her 3 times that I would need to move in early into the residence halls and that I needed to pick up my key. I tried to break it down for her very simply so she would maybe understand better, but I was still unsuccessful. It seemed like she didn’t read my emails all the way through and didn’t care much about what I had to say. I ended up emailing Carrie Barnhart, the [Director of Residence Life], but I, again, am going to have to pick up my key on my move in date. These two situations are very frustrating because I cannot understand why it is so difficult for me to pick up my keys when I need to move in for school and work. It also doesn’t make sense to me to tell someone to pick up their key in August, when summer school ends in July.
“Management-wise, there are things that can be changed at The Oaks. It is overwhelming to have to deal with situations like these on top of school, work, and other personal things. I would really just like to see more professionalism there, and I want the people who are working at our school to actually try and care about our problems rather than just skim over their emails.”
Written by Evelyn Summers, Senior Copy Editor
Interviews compiled by Charlie Hatch, Contributing Writer