Dorm reassignment creates controversy

Some students are critical of the residence halls’ policy for moving students.

Kevin McCahill

First-year business management student Tyler Pearson just wanted to live his first year of college like everyone else. Instead, he’s found himself kicked out of his residence hall by University officials.

Pearson is part of an investigation involving a female student who was found drunk and unconscious Feb. 24 in a Territorial Hall stairwell.

But, citing concerns for Pearson’s safety, University officials told him he was going to be moved to Middlebrook Hall.

Moving students between residence halls is a right of the University and can be done for a variety of reasons, as Pearson found out.

On page 32 of the residence hall student contract, under the section “Assignments and Assignment Preferences,” it says Housing and Residential Life “reserves the right to assign/reassign applicant/resident to any available space within University Housing, even if it is not an applicant/resident’s preference.”

Pearson said he had nothing to do with the girl, whom he said he had never met. He since has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

“It’s completely bogus,” he said. “I don’t know who she is. I’ve never even said hi to her. It’s a total rumor.”

Pearson was told he would need to move to another hall to prevent retaliation from those who believed he was involved.

“How is Middlebrook (Hall) any safer than Territorial (Hall)?” he said. “If I’m going to get jumped, I’m going to get jumped.”

Susan Stubblefield, assistant department director for Housing and Residential Life, said the department doesn’t release the names of students who are living in its facilities and wouldn’t comment on Pearson’s situation.

But Coordinator of Residential Life Wachen Anderson said the University has the right to move students when necessary.

The University Housing and Residential Life signs a contract with students guaranteeing them a bed, Anderson said. That contract also indicates that students can be reassigned for any reason, she said.

Anderson did not comment on any specific issues, but said students could be reassigned because of something as drastic as flooding, but is more commonly done for behavior, health or safety issues.

Anderson said student reassignment is common and said about 50 students dealt with reassignments last academic year.

“There is typically something precipitating it,” she said. “It’s not just, I don’t like my roommate anymore.”

Anderson said having students moved takes a lot of consideration but typically is done for a good reason.

“We have a pretty good cause to move someone,” she said.

Pearson said he still doesn’t think he’s been given a straight answer by the University as to his situation.

“I’m being thrown out over a rumor,” he said.

First-year business student Scott Jilek said Pearson should be allowed to stay where he is.

“He should have an opportunity to live here like anyone else,” he said.

Jilek said a lot of students in the residence hall have been talking about the incident and think Pearson was treated unfairly, and Pearson agreed.

“If I was in a dorm, and I didn’t like a student all I would have to do is start a rumor,” Pearson said.

Pearson is not allowed in Territorial Hall while the case is being investigated. He moved back home to Shakopee last weekend. Pearson said he hasn’t been told how long the case will be investigated.

Other residence hall students didn’t think allowing students to be moved was fair.

“I don’t know why they would do it, especially if (the student) has been living there for a while,” said first-year biology student Jordan Kasinskas.

First-year microbiology student Christina Yi said she has known students who have been moved, and said students should understand the residence hall rules.

“They were aware of the rules when they moved in,” she said. “It’s fair game.”