HBKU HRL announces new housing policies


Photo by Jueun Choi

Some policy implementations in the winter break housing contract have changed, such as storage and payment procedures, according to an email from Hamad Bin Khalifa University Housing and Residence and Life sent out to residents on Oct. 23.

Residents are now allowed to stay in their rooms during winter break without a long pre-approval process from their university campuses. Previously, students who wanted to stay in the dorms during winter were required to have their universities provide academic justifications in writing.

However, HBKU HRL will continue to charge residents weekly housing rates for students who plan to stay in the dorms over the break, a rule that was put in place last year.

Students who won’t be, but who are returning next semester, will continue to be able to leave their belongings in their rooms at no extra charge. Originally, they were expected to pay a fee if they did not check out over the break, but that rule will not be applied, according to the email.

The email also stated that students can now keep the bedding sets that the housing department gives them when they check in to the residences, as compared to previous years when they would have to return them upon check out.

The changes were made in response to a number of students who had conveyed their displeasure over the previous housing rules.

“We want [our facility] to be student-friendly, so students feel like this is their home and it supports their academics,” said Matthew J. Nelson, head of residence life at HBKU HRL.

Although changes have been made for student convenience, HBKU HRL also plans to oversee stricter implementations of its policies this winter break, according to Nelson. The housing contract has long required students to leave their residences 48 hours after taking their last exam of the semester, but the rule has not been followed firmly and will now begin to be.

“No policies have changed in terms of the housing contract, how we’re implementing them has changed,” said Nelson, head of residence life at HBKU HRL. These new implementations have been made so that the housing department can quickly prepare rooms for new residents who move in during the break, Nelson added.

Regardless, many residents said the changes come as a relief because now they do not have to check out at the end of the semester as they had originally anticipated to.

“Even though it can be stressful that [residents] have to rush and check out two days after our last exam, not worrying about having to move out is great,” said Rania Hassan, a resident at HBKU HRL and a student at Northwestern University in Qatar. “The fact that we are allowed to keep our belongings in our rooms is actually so convenient for international students, like me, who don’t have family in the country to keep our stuff with over breaks.”

“Personally, I believe [the changes are] crucial for us international students and has made our housing life and experience much more convenient and comfortable,” said Saad Iqbal, another resident at HBKU HRL and a student at Georgetown University in Qatar. “This change now saves us [residents] time and effort of moving our belongings, which was unnecessary to begin with.”

Some issues HBKU HRL staff said they are still working on are easing the check-out policy for students and making the visitation policy more flexible, Nelson said. The allocated morning and afternoon check-out timings have inconvenienced students who have booked late night travel arrangements. The visitation policy has been a problem for some students who wish to have guests stay overnight, which is not currently allowed.

“Students can always go to their community development advisor or residence hall coordinator [for their concerns],” Nelson said. “But they can email us or come and see me because when we hear that there are specific experiences [of problems], we can make changes [like these].”


Correction: Nov. 10, 2017
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the HBKU HRL requirement that students must leave their residences 48 hours after their last exam at the end of the semester is new. The article has been updated to clarify that this has long been HBKU HRL policy but it will now be implemented more strictly.

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