Cleaning house: Pitt tosses, stores student belongings to prepare facilities for COVID-19 fight


Thomas Yang | Assistant Visual Editor

Pitt made Lothrop Hall available as supplemental housing for UPMC medical staff, and is in the process of clearing out other residence halls as well.

By Jon Moss, News Editor

Pitt is cleaning and sanitizing several facilities around campus in an effort to make them available for the Pittsburgh medical community in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, though the process has not gone off without a hitch.

During the cleaning process, Pitt “inadvertently” discarded and cannot recover the belongings of some Panther Hall residents. University spokesperson Kevin Zwick did not directly respond to a question about how many students were affected or whether students were notified before their items were moved or discarded, but he said Pitt will compensate students for any lost items.

“This is an unintentional and truly unfortunate mistake, and we are deeply sorry,” Zwick said. “Staff members have reached out to each student impacted to personally apologize.”

Students were previously told by Pitt they could retrieve their belongings until residence halls close on April 26. They had until Friday to move out and still receive a 30% proration on housing and dining charges, while those who moved out after this Saturday would not receive a proration. 

Staff are now collecting, cataloging and removing student belongings from several facilities, including Panther Hall, for retrieval at a later point in time. According to Zwick, items will be available after Allegheny County lifts a “stay at home” order and students can return to campus. He declined to specify which facilities are being converted beyond unnamed residence halls.

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher announced at a March 19 Senate Council meeting that Lothrop Hall will be used as supplemental housing for UPMC medical staff working long shifts, and Pitt administration was considering making additional halls available for patients.

Pitt officials have repeatedly asked in emails to students that they “not return” to campus if possible. Students who feel they need to remain on campus were eligible to fill out an Extension to Stay request through the housing portal.

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