Approximately 93% of UC Santa Barbara undergraduates living in the residence halls, a total of 5,274 students, have moved out of their respective dorms as of April 1 following the university’s announcement that students could sever their leases for spring quarter now that the quarter will be conducted remotely.
Approximately 65% of students, or 1,651 people, living in the undergraduate university apartments — which typically house undergraduate upperclassmen — have also chosen to move out.
The remaining dorm residents will be moved into Santa Catalina, the university’s only off-campus residence hall, according to Jill Hurd, director of UCSB’s Residential & Community Living.
Santa Catalina was chosen in part because of its unique layout, Hurd said; each student will have their own room and only share a bathroom with one other resident, as opposed to in other residence halls, which can have a dozen residents sharing a communal bathroom.
The residence hall normally houses about 1,300 undergraduates but will now house less than 400 students.
All other residence hall buildings need to be made available in case the state needs them to house patients with the coronavirus, Hurd said. Governor Gavin Newsom announced earlier this month that the state may ask universities to convert their dorms to temporary housing facilities for those who have contracted the coronavirus.
“This is happening all over the country, where they’re looking at college campuses to help them for various reasons,” Hurd explained. “All UC campuses are doing this.”
Santa Catalina residents will be allotted three meal swipes a day on weekdays, and two on weekends; they will be charged $5,030 for housing and the meal plan for the quarter, according to an email sent out to all residence hall residents earlier this week.
They are being charged the “very lowest amount” in terms of housing, Hurd said. A single room with unlimited meal swipes for the 2019-2020 school year would typically cost $6,727.33 per quarter.
“We want to make sure that we continue to provide really high service, [but] at the same time it’s going to be different than it did before because of social distancing,” Hurd said.
She added that residential operations have taken additional precautions given the spread of the coronavirus, such as upping the number of cleanings in the common areas and establishing a no-guest policy.
Currently, the plan is to begin moving students into Santa Catalina beginning April 10, Hurd said. Students will receive boxes to pack up their belongings, which will then be placed in moving carts; the moving carts will be transported to Santa Catalina via moving trucks, provided by the university, and the students can then pick up their carts at Santa Catalina.
“We would never say, ‘move over there, figure it out yourselves,’” Hurd said.
Students who have chosen to sever their contracts with the university have until April 3 to pack up their rooms. If they do not remove their belongings, the items will be “packed and stored at [students’] expense,” in which case students should assume they will not have access to their items until the end of spring quarter, the residence hall email said.
All students’ housing refunds will be credited to the BARC accounts before mid-April.