Housing eviction bill takes away students? rights

By By Ross Solomon

By Ross Solomon

Imagine an incredibly terrible day. You failed your physics midterm, your girlfriend broke up with you and your cat was splattered by some jackass on Greek Row. Nothing at all seems to be going your way, and all you want to do is get back to your cozy little dorm room and immerse yourself in some B-grade fantasy novel.

As you’re meandering back up campus, you slip on the stairs going up Legacy Bridge right as it starts to rain. Hard. With what might be a sprained ankle, you continue to hobble toward your destination. You swipe your card, go up to the fourth floor and down to the end of the hall where your sanctuary resides. But wait! What’s that ominous-looking paper hanging on your door? You move in for a closer look.

“EVICTED: YOU HAVE THREE DAYS TO VACATE THE PREMISES (xoxo, your RHA),” reads the notice.

Previously, this sort of thing wouldn’t legally have been able to happen without a whole mess of legal proceedings that were put in place to protect your rights. In a few weeks, though, the dreams of vindictive university housing associations all across the state might be horribly realized. This new bill, sponsored by Kory M. Holdaway, aims to help this whole process along. Exactly as it’s printed on the bill, House Bill 238 “permits an institution of higher education to exclude or evict a student from student housing, if the student has violated the student’s lease, without resorting to a judicial process.”

The bill aims to evict students late on their rent, but it could easily be applied to any infraction. That’s right, folks! Do anything against the rules at the dorms and you might face eviction. Have a beer in your mini fridge? That’s an eviction. Have someone in your dorm past the cutoff time? That’s an eviction.

OK, these minor infractions probably won’t get you evicted, but that isn’t the point. The laws currently set in place were enacted to protect tenants from getting evicted for just anything by some nut job. Without these protections, seemingly insignificant infractions could result in the loss of living quarters without any chance of defending oneself.

The bill has already passed the House, but still must get through the Senate before it unleashes its fury upon unsuspecting students across the state. This loss of rights, yet another entry on the ever-growing list, is absolutely unacceptable and must not be passed. Students living in on-campus housing should have every protection. Anything less could prove to be an absolute disaster for someone who has done little or nothing wrong.

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Ross Solomon