11/21/2014 07:42 EST | Updated 11/21/2014 07:59 EST

Siying Chen, University Of Alberta Student From China, Returns To Find Her Stuff Thrown Out


Upon returning to Edmonton in September after a summer visit to China, University of Alberta student Siying Chen discovered that most of her personal belongings had disappeared from her dorm.

The items, worth an estimated $3,500, included a 51-inch TV, a computer, snowboard equipment, and artworks she planned to sell at an auction for fine arts students, The Gateway reported.

And while an apologetic university has offered to waive her rent for the remainder of the year, the fourth-year design student is choosing to live elsewhere, said The Edmonton Journal.

"Most of my friends, they're selling their paintings, drawings, woodwork [at the student auction]," Chen, 22, told the newspaper. "I have nothing to submit."

Chen had rented an apartment at the university's HUB Mall residence for three years when she left for China on May 2, The Gateway said.

She paid to continue renting through the summer and expected to find everything in place when she returned. But once back at school all she found was a table, chairs, and a couch.

It was only when she contacted Residence Services that she found out her stuff had been thrown in the trash because she hadn't notified them she'd be gone for more than two weeks, a requirement of students who have month-to-month leases — but something Chen had never done that before.

Residence Services tried to contact her through her Gmail account over the summer, but the site is blocked in China.

A university spokesman said in a statement to CTV News that international students often leave personal items behind, and that Chen's were handled according to school policy in this case.

But University of Alberta president Indira Samarasekara is "very, very sorry" about what happened to the student, according to the Journal. The school is investigating to see whether proper process was followed.

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