Stanford fails to provide safety equipment promised to undergrads in Campus Compact upon arrival

Sept. 17, 2020, 10:46 p.m.

Multiple undergraduate students living on campus have reported not receiving essential safety supplies, despite being told in the Undergraduate Campus Compact that Stanford would provide them with these items. 

The Undergraduate Campus Compact states that “upon arrival, each undergraduate student will receive a cloth face mask, disposable face masks, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes to help ensure students have the supplies they need to start the year.”

“No such supplies were given” upon move-in, Harshal Agrawal ’23 said. “We did get an empty spray bottle and each floor had a sanitizing cleanser dispenser that we can go and refill, but other than that no such supplies.”

Stepan Sharkov ’23 said that the dining hall has given him a disposable face mask a couple of times, but that, out of the list of supplies listed in the Campus Compact, he has “not received any of them at all.”

Stanford spokesperson E.J. Miranda wrote in a statement to The Daily that these items will be provided soon.

“Although there was an unexpected delay in receiving certain materials, we have begun assembling and delivering the kits that will be distributed to students,” Miranda wrote. “The kit contains a cloth face mask, disposable face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, a touchless tool for opening doors, a water bottle, a digital thermometer and a mat for outdoor classes. We will re-supply students with disposable masks and hand sanitizer.”

Miranda noted that certain provisions are already in place, including a supply of face masks with Housing Front Desks “available upon request,” face masks for students at the dining hall without one and hand sanitizer available “at the main entrance to all residences and dining halls.”

Sharkov, an international student, added that not receiving these supplies has created issues. 

“I was not able to take a lot of those when I was coming here, and I also assumed they will give them to us frequently, so we would not need to worry,” he said. “But now I will need to use my masks for as long as possible to avoid going to the stores or ordering them somewhere, which is not really safe.”

Agrawal admitted that he was a bit surprised when Stanford didn’t provide the supplies upon moving in. 

“Given that most students living on campus this quarter are from underprivileged backgrounds, the school should have taken measures to ensure the students have what they need to be safe,” he said. 

According to the housing request form released in a Re-Approaching Stanford email, undergraduates were approved to live on campus this quarter due to special circumstances, including international students facing travel or visa complications, students experiencing homelessness or students with unsafe home environments or environments that prevent them from being able to participate in remote learning.

The initial lack of supplies could signal a larger trend of disorganization on the part of Stanford, according to Sharkov. 

“Honestly, a lot of other things are not happening, which we would assume should have happened,” he said, adding that Stanford did not provide bedding to all residents, but instead provided linens upon request.

Sharkov said he and his roommate “ordered a lot of cleaning things last weekend and a couple days later found in the email that ‘We are going to give you some of the cleaning supplies.’ They could have done this significantly earlier, so we would know and avoid spending money.”

Miranda wrote that Residential and Dining Enterprises has begun distributing a starter cleaning kit of apartment cleaning supplies to graduate students living in shared apartments. These include cleaner/disinfectant, reusable gloves and microfiber cleaning cloths. 

Stanford also has plans to provide cleaning supplies to undergraduates. 

 “Additional supplies have been ordered, including a sweeper and toilet and shower cleaning tools. Undergraduates may request refills of these items during the pandemic,” Miranda wrote.

The Campus Compact has caused controversy among graduate students, with complaints ranging from strict punishments for Compact violations to a lack of student voice in the process of drafting the Compact. 

According to Miranda, the university “is committed” to the Campus Compact and the health and safety of our campus community are of “utmost importance.” 

Contact Ujwal Srivastava at ujwal ‘at’

Ujwal Srivastava '23 is from Palo Alto, Calif. He is a Science & Technology Desk Editor interested in the intersection of healthcare and technology. He is majoring in Computer Science on the Biocomputation track. Contact him at usrivastava 'at'

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