This is is to provide a bit more clarification about what I said on Episode 33 of the Missing Maura Murray podcast. UMass residence halls and security hall monitor jobs after I
UMASS RESIDENTIAL LIFE:
Residential Areas: I noted that there were five residential areas. By that I meant that in 2004, there were five residential areas (specifically, Southwest, Central, Orchard Hill, Northeast, and Sylvan). By the time I graduated in 2007, there was one more residential area (known as “North”).
Single Rooms: To be clear – there were some single dorm rooms offered at UMass. They were primarily reserved for upperclassman and some (specifically in Sylvan) were “suite style” in which 6-8 people shared a common living room and bathroom, but had a single room.
That said, I was specifically referring to Kennedy Hall in Southwest. Kennedy Hall is a “first-year” dorm. And to the best of my recollection, there were no ‘single’ dorm rooms in Kennedy (other than rooms occupied by the ‘RA’ or Residential Advisor). You can view a typical room in Kennedy below or by clicking here. And this video shows how tight some of the rooms were in Southwest.
It would have made sense for Maura to live in a first-year dorm because despite junior-level academic status (determined by number of credits earned), she was only beginning her third semester in the residence halls. As I recall, seniority in the residence hall hierarchy was a function of how many semesters a student lived in the residence halls (not necessarily how many credits they’ve earned or their grade level). In other words, she would have had a seniority status on par with most first-semester sophomores.
As I recall, the housing situation my first year (2003-2004) was particularly messy. At the start of the fall semester in 2003, 150 students (including several people I knew) were living at the campus hotel, and 400 others were housed in dorm lounges or ‘forced triple’ rooms while they waited for a permanent placement, which would ultimately take weeks or months.
So whether Maura had a single room or not isn’t really the point. The general point I’m trying to make is that there are a number of plausible reasons that, in the words of the NH State Police, "some boxes appeared to have been packed.” Given the fluidity of the first few weeks of the semester, the check-in/out procedures at UMass, the chance she may have ultimately been reassigned, or looking for off-campus housing, or wound up with a roommate – it makes much more sense to me that she had yet to unpack. Otherwise we have to believe she unpacked everything for the semester during that first week, then turned around and packed everything back up. I believe a more accurate reflection of the state of Maura’s dorm room would be to say "some boxes appeared to not have been unpacked.”
UMass Residence Hall Check-in/Check-out: Like many other procedures, this operation has been moved online since 2004. But back in 2004 (and as late as 2007), the way you let UMass and Residence Life know you had returned to school was by checking-in/out with the RA and receiving/returning your dorm key in person.
Hall Monitor Hours: I found a report of an outside review of UMass’s Residence Hall Security Program (from 1980s to 2013). Everything you want to know about UMass Security procedures is in this 22 page review, including the hours that residence hall security monitors are on staff, which is Sunday to Wednesday 8:00 PM to 12:00 AM; Thursday 8:00 PM to 2:00 AM; and Friday & Saturday 8:00 PM to 3:00 AM.