Stanford to pay for Collegeboxes storage through summer

Students complain about lost and broken items

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Some students interviewed for this story have been granted pseudonyms to improve readability. Their identities, while known to The Daily, have been anonymized to protect them from harassment over their FLI status.

Stanford will pay for continued Collegeboxes storage until the start of fall quarter 2021 for students who are not currently living on campus, will not return to campus for summer quarter and are planning to return to campus for fall quarter, according to a Monday email from the executive director of R&DE Student Housing Operations Imogen Hinds.

Hinds emphasized that this complimentary storage extension is only for those students who satisfy all three requirements. As of February, the R&DE website read that students’ items would only be stored free of charge until June 30.

Students who will not return to campus for the summer quarter and who will not be returning to campus in the fall must pick up their items, have their items shipped to them free of charge or donate their items by June 30, according to Hinds. She added that, alternatively, students in these circumstances can pay to have their items remain in storage beyond June 30. She encouraged students to contact Collegeboxes as soon as possible to communicate their desired option. 

This announcement comes after multiple reports of students facing issues with Collegeboxes storage this year. While this announcement applies to students who have not picked up their items and who are not on campus, many students who have already retrieved their belongings from Collegeboxes recently reported lost and damaged items, as well as high fees for summer storage.

David ’23, a refugee student from Syria, estimated that close to $3,700 of his items were either lost or damaged when he went to retrieve them earlier this month. Missing items included gift cards, electronics and his birth certificate. David added that he was told he would be charged $500 for summer storage.

“Especially coming from a [FLI] community, each item for me is not an easy replacement,” he wrote. He added that getting a new birth certificate would be especially challenging due to his international student and refugee status. 

Another student, Jared ’23, reported that his eyeglasses, Bluetooth speaker and AirPods, among other items, were missing and that his bike was heavily damaged when he went to pick it up.

Neither the University nor Collegeboxes responded to repeated requests for comment, though some students said they have made minor progress dealing with their complaints.

Damion forwarded The Daily an email from Collegeboxes stating that they would be charged over $1,000 to store their belongings over the summer.

An email from CollegeBoxes suggesting to a student that they would be forced to pay to store their items over the summer. Stanford later said they would cover the costs. (Screenshot: SAM CATANIA / The Stanford Daily)

David reported that Collegeboxes staff were able to find a few of his items, but not the majority, after they checked their inventory. Jared wrote that Stanford reimbursed most of the lost expenses, but Collegeboxes “didn’t do shit.” He added that Collegeboxes told him that his items were only insured up to $50.

The Daily was unable to confirm if students who were told they would be charged for storage ever received a follow up to notify them that this information was incorrect.

Even with the University’s apparent commitment to paying for storage through the summer, some students still feel that their issues have not been resolved.

Jared wrote the combination of lost and damaged items and being denied special circumstances housing as a student with food and housing insecurity made for a difficult year that left him unhappy with Stanford’s handling of the pandemic. “I slept on a sheet on the floor for several months from Winter to Summer before [Stanford] allowed me back in the fall,” he wrote.

“As an institutional authority, they’re expected to operate with consideration and equity. And they have not done that or taken responsibility/accountability for their errors,” Jared wrote. “They just swipe it under the rug and say ‘it’s been a tough time for everybody.’”

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Sam Catania ’24 is a Staff Writer at The Daily. He is a Philadelphia native currently studying computer science and political science. Contact him at scatania 'at' stanforddaily.com