EUGENE, Ore. -- Some students at the University of Oregon say they feel like the university's bottom line is more important than their health after learning there's a fee if students decide to move out of their dorms early.
"It's a feeling of being seen as a source of profit and being penalized for when we're not fulfilling that role," UO freshman Natalie Scharn said.
The UO didn't require first year students to live on campus this year. However, if they did move into the dorms and want to leave mid-year, they have to pay $9 for each day of the remaining contract period.
Many students took to an anonymous Instagram page to voice their safety concerns. Some shared how much they will owe if they decide to leave early but stay enrolled as a student.
"From the start it seemed like OSU was making these choices easier. Whereas the UO has consistently shown that maybe they value profit over student experience," UO alumna Majorie Sheiman said.
Many UO students said they weren't surprised to hear that OSU allows its students to cancel their housing contracts without paying a fee. They told KEZI 9 News that charging students only for the days they're living in a room on campus is the most practical option.
Oregon State University spokesperson Steve Clark said only a handful of students have moved out early.
"Some students, not a large number, did move into our dorms and residence halls and decided at that point or shortly after that things were not what they wanted at that time," Clark said.
However, he said families are dealing with enough financial difficulties due to the pandemic alone.
"As a result, we said we would allow students to break their contracts for residential life," Clark said.
Students said the UO needs to handle the contracts more like Oregon State, especially if they're leaving over safety concerns.
"Oregon State University's idea makes so much more sense because they're not penalizing students for prioritizing their health," Sheiman said.
Some students told KEZI 9 News that the UO needs to be held accountable and start prioritizing students' well-being over everything else.
KEZI 9 News reached out to the University of Oregon for comment but officials said no one was available to speak.