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Unaccompanied: Thanksgiving on campus

By Julia Olmsted, For The Miami Student

Thanksgiving break is still a couple weeks away, but for the hundreds of students who will stay on the nearly deserted campus, there won't be so much as a resident assistant to stay with them.

Rob Abowitz, the associate director of the Office of Residence Life, said resident assistants aren't required to stay during the break for multiple reasons.

"We simply haven't found the need," he said.

Resident assistants would have to pay the school break housing fee their residents must pay to remain on campus for Thanksgiving breaks. Abowitz said to force resident assistants to miss Thanksgiving with their families would be unfair and a large deterrent for potential future resident assistants.

Although this lack of supervision does raise some concern with the Miami Parents Facebook group, it has not caused any major problems in the past. One resident director is paid to stay on duty for the break, and students who stay on campus are provided his or her phone number, Abowitz said. Residents are also given a list of local phone numbers, including the Miami University Police Department, but instances of student calls are rare.

Before the increase in the international student population, those who wished to stay on campus during breaks were all consolidated into two rooms in either Hepburn or Havighurst Hall. According to Abowitz, no more than 15 students ever stayed over break when this was the protocol.

Sherri Bowling, the assistant director of housing and meal plans in the H.O.M.E office, estimates that, of the almost 7,500 on-campus students, around 410 students stay in the residence halls during Thanksgiving break under this new plan.

"Keep in mind, there are very few students who sign up to stay the entire break period," Bowling said. "International students use this service the most, it's not feasible for them to travel home for the four to five-day break period."

Because of this, campus amenities are limited. Few, if any, dining halls remain open, and the list of those that will be in operation will come out right before the break as they do every year, according to the H.O.M.E office.

The Miami OneStop website states King Library and the Armstrong Student Center will be open, but hours of operation will be limited. The university itself will stay closed for the duration of the break, meaning all academic buildings will be unavailable to students.

Junior Mary Horner said she thought about staying in her residence hall during break last year, but ultimately decided against it.

"It's honestly not worth the money if I'm just going to be sitting in my room the whole time," Horner said.

According to Bowling, the cost of staying in a residence hall is $26.59 per day, if students remember to sign up beforehand. For those who don't, the cost is $55.

Allie Cin, an employee at the H.O.M.E. office said these charges are due to the general costs of keeping the residence halls open during vacation times - electricity, water and heat. Cin also said having a list of everyone who stays makes it much easier to keep all of the residents safe.