Missing boots, a broken screen and a fridge full of flies: students scramble to locate stored belongings
When Sharla Moody ’22 returned to campus in late August to find her bedding, clothing and boots — which cost her mother a week’s worth of pay — missing, she was upset. But it was the loss of her late grandmother’s necklace that truly devastated her.
“I’m a first-gen, low income student,” Moody said. “I don’t know how I could ever buy this stuff back now.”
Like many other Yalies, Moody signed up to have Yale pack up and store her things, having left items in March. Even so, many of her belongings were missing when she went to pick them up. She now fears they are lost for good.
In an early June email, the University outlined a set of options for students to retrieve their belongings before the coming year. Students could schedule a two-hour slot to pack up their dorm rooms and place their items in storage or take them home. Another option relied on a Yale-contracted company that packed students’ belongings and delivered them to the new rooms come fall. Students in the U.S. could also request Yale to pack and ship their items to them.
Still, some students have reported broken items, some have received other students’ things and some have been given nothing at all.
“I’m waiting to know whether that stuff even exists anymore,” said Vincent Schaffer ’22, who requested that Yale store his things. “I don’t even know what I don’t know honestly because I’m just sort of waiting, and I’m in limbo.”
Yale contracted with the companies Dorm Room Movers and William B. Meyer to pack, store and ship students’ belongings. Yale Conferences & Events is also assisting the movers.
University spokesperson Karen Peart — who wrote to the News on behalf of Yale Conferences & Events — said that Yale has resolved two-thirds of the cases of students missing all of their items. The University is still working to help the remaining students, who Peart said comprise 0.5 percent of the total number of students who were enrolled last spring.
Dorm Room Movers did not respond to repeated email and phone requests for comment. A William B. Meyer representative referred the News to Peart.
Multiple departments within Yale are also helping students retrieve their items. Madison Boone ’22, who packed her belongings in July and requested that the boxes be moved to her room for this fall, returned to Benjamin Franklin to find her things missing.
Boone said she has reached out to three different departments — Yale Conferences & Events, the moving company and people from Benjamin Franklin, her residential college— but they all refer her to each other.
“I just slept on a bunch of clothes rolled up as a pillow,” Boone said of her first night back. “It was very hot as all my fans are in storage so I didn’t need many blankets, but it would have been nice to have one.”
Since then, Yale Conferences & Events and her college’s operations manager have located her things in a storage facility.
In the meantime, they also brought her linens and toiletries to tide her over.
“All unclaimed items were fully packed and most were moved into storage,” Peart wrote in an email to the News. “Staff accommodated hundreds of students, including many who made decisions late in the summer to move off campus or to take a leave of absence. As a result of these late decisions, some items still need to be claimed or moved into storage.”
Some students are filing reimbursement claims to replace their lost belongings. According to a flowchart on Yale Conferences & Events’ website, most students should direct their inquiry to Yale. The chart stated that it could take Yale up to three months to process these complaints.
Still, other students must file their complaints to Dorm Room Movers, the company that packed rooms used for first responders. One such student, Jeremy David ’22 submitted a request when he found his TV screen smashed upon returning to campus. Because he did not have the original box the TV came in, he said Dorm Room Movers would not process his request. Instead, he bought a replacement on his own dime and submitted a claim to Yale on Aug. 23. A week later, he has not heard back.
Jason Forman, Director of Operations at Dorm Room Movers, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Davis also does not have the other items he left behind during March break. He had scheduled to retrieve his things from a storage facility, but a day before the planned pickup in August he got an email saying that his items weren’t inventoried yet.
“They emailed me a day before and said … we’ll get back to you at the end of the week for when we can get back to you, essentially, to come pick your stuff up,” David said. “They said they’ve been very busy moving people in but we need stuff, and things are expensive.”
Still, Peart stated that most items have already been shipped to students, and those that have not are on their way. But some Yalies have encountered problems in getting their shipped items as well.
Xavier Ruiz ’22 requested his items be shipped to Houston, so he was surprised when his former hallmate, who lives in Singapore, opened up a delivery with Ruiz’s items. Yale sent empty boxes and packing slips to the student in Singapore, who will send Ruiz’s things back across the ocean.
For Amber Braker ’22, the problem was having too many items — which included a mini fridge with half a carton of eggs, coffee creamer and the flies that had been munching on them for six months. The University had previously told her and other students it would dispose of perishable items.
After a few failed cleaning attempts, she threw the fridge away. She said she simply could never eat food from it again.
William B. Meyer has a storage facility in Hartford, CT.
Rose Horowitch | firstname.lastname@example.org