Students kicked out of dorms might have bills to cover under contract

Residents might be moved to another hall or evicted altogether and still have to pay.

by Aidan M. Anderson

First-year engineering student Nate Kot violated one too many residence hall policies, was evicted during midterms and was forced to find a place to live.

He must now pay 30 percent of his residence hall bill through the end of the school year, and he has no one to appeal to.

While the University’s housing contracts obligate it to provide beds for all first-year students, it also gives officials the authority to move or evict students and hold them financially responsible with little or no recourse.

Eviction is rare, though, said Wachen Anderson, judicial affairs coordinator for Housing and Residential Life, and usually results from a series of violations. Last year there was one termination during the fall semester.

Kot, a former resident of Pioneer Hall, got into trouble with rowdy guests and alcohol ” on more than one occasion.

While he claimed responsibility for his offenses, he said some of the policies could be changed.

“I think there should be some kind of scale with the guests,” he said. “One of the complaints was just insane, and all I did was wake up and talk to the (community adviser),” Kot said.

The residence hall staff issued him warnings, but when the offenses stacked, he was told to pack his bags and move out, he said.

Kot is looking for a means to appeal his financial obligation, he said. But he might not find any outs.

Just because a contract gets terminated doesn’t mean the evicted student becomes free from financial obligation, Anderson said.

“It would be like breaking a lease with a landlord,” she said. “You’re still responsible to pay for the contract, but the University charges a smaller percent, not 100 percent,” she said.

By contract, the University reserves the right to relocate students but normally does so only when the behavior has potential to do damage to the community, she said.

First-year biomedical engineering student Carl Sarkissian was moved from Pioneer Hall to Middlebrook Hall after a disciplinary violation.

“We’re giving them a chance to start again somewhere else, in essence, to reinvent themselves,” Anderson said.

A “deferred removal” ” a move from one residence hall to another ” shows the student that, while their violation was serious, the Housing and Residential Life staff has not seen fit to kick them out entirely, Anderson said.

Sarkissian said he didn’t understand the logic behind the move.

“I didn’t see how moving really helped anything,” he said. “They didn’t ban me from coming back or anything.”

The University has clearly defined reasons for legitimate contract releases, but disciplinary violations are not one of them, said Lisa Schulte, assistant director for housing programs and administrative services.

Acceptable terms for release from contract as outlined in the Housing and Residential Life guidebook include graduation, declaration of same-gender domestic partnership, marriage, active duty military service, study abroad and internships outside the metro area.

Extenuating circumstances, such as financial hardships and medical situations, might be accepted. For all instances, documentation must be provided, Schulte said.