Queen's University says that they will look at making adjustments to future Move-In Days after several parents have complained that their experience moving their kids in last weekend was anything but smooth.
After reading an article published by YGK News, a number of parents said their experience was far from aligned with the "well oiled machine" described by Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Ann Tierney on Move-in Day.
"It took us three and half hours to drive to Kingston. Once in Kingston it took 3 and half hours to get to our daughter’s residence," one comment read.
"It was the most stressful and chaotic experience we’ve ever experienced and made us question our choice of University. If this is what is considered a well oiled machine what will the rest of the year look like?"
In a statement from Queen's, Executive Director of Housing & Ancillary Services Leah Wales said the one day move in is a huge undertaking that requires months of planning, but apologized to families who experienced the significant delays described by several different parents.
"Moving 4,600 first-year students into 17 residences in a single day requires months of pre-planning with our community partners, and the generosity of over 1,000 student volunteers who contributed to creating a unique and lasting experience for our first-year students. The one-day move-in helps the university deliver a shared experience for all arriving students, provide consistent resources and supports, and begin building community together during the social and academic orientation activities that follow Move-In day," said Wales.
"We acknowledge that this year's return to a one-day move-in did not go as planned, including a high volume of traffic in areas, impacting community members and a number of parents and families dropping off students. We apologize to all who were impacted by traffic delays, as this was not the experience we hoped to provide. Queen's is conducting a thorough debrief with all our partners including the police and traffic control specialists that we worked with this year and we will make the necessary adjustments to our plans for future Move-In days."
One parent, who asked to remain unnamed, said the experience was "appalling" and that a plan to situate over 4,500 students on one day is doomed.
They said the execution of Move-In Day completely ruined any chance of settling in their daughter as planned.
"It was not a proper goodbye, we didn't get to settle our daughter in, it was a horrible really - to me - a chaotic, disastrous experience," the parent said.
"And it was a terrible, terrible, terrible first impression of Queen's frankly. I could not believe that this was happening, I thought 'this University has been doing this for years and this is what they had?'"
They said while they expected some delays, they were not anticipating being stuck in virtually stand still traffic on Sir John. A Macdonald Boulevard for over three hours.
The parent said they and their daughter decided to walk the 1.1 KM to her residence after waiting in traffic for some time, and upon returning to the car said the traffic had only moved about five car lengths.
They said there was no communication from Move-In day volunteers, and no attempt whatsoever to find solutions once the pile up began.
"I cannot tell you the degree of stress and frustration that all of the parents were experiencing, and I really did feel badly for all of the students," the parent said.
"Nobody ever came by to give an update, nobody ever came by with water, there were no bathrooms to use... it was actually a nightmare."
Upon arriving to the residence roughly 3 hours after they had planned, they said any volunteers that were helping earlier had already checked out after their own long day.
The parent added that this didn't seem to be a problem for all of the move in routes, but three zones including the newly opened Albert Street residence experienced significant delays.
While the parent said there was a rumour of an accident causing the delays on Saturday circulating, Queen's would not confirm any potential reason for the delay.
Queen's also declined to answer any further questions on what led to the delays after sharing the statement attributed to Wales.
Story by Owen Fullerton, YGK News, for the Local Journalism Initiative