HB 238 would allow abuse of students’ rights

By and

Editor:

Ross Solomon is right about House Bill 2388212;Exemption of University Housing from Eviction Laws (“Housing eviction bill takes away students’ rights,” Feb. 5), but this is not a new bill. It was introduced for the first time last year.

It might be better titled the “Student Expedited Eviction” bill. University public workers say that they need the bill because they’re “in the education business, not the housing business.” But they want permission to avoid a law that every other housing owner in the state must obey. The state’s eviction laws aren’t perfect, but they worked well for many years.

The bill would impose different standards of due process and equal protection, which are often beyond the control or influence of the state government and would be unconstitutional in any other application. Student housing agreements and rules can be changed with little notice or state oversight.

Two recent student housing acts that lack protection from the possible abuse that this bill would allow include the segregation of a student who possesses a legal firearm and the segregation of a student who is pursuing gender reassignment.

State law authorizes an institution that operates student housing to allow students “to request only roommates who are not licensed to carry a concealed firearm.” Some U public workers expressed doubt about how unworkable the law really is8212;a student may possess a legal firearm without having a state Concealed Firearm permit and no state law requires the student to disclose his or her possession of a legal firearm whether concealed or unconcealed, but no state law prohibits an institution from requiring the disclosure. If students fail to disclose their firearm possessions according to a lease agreement with such a requirement, their eviction will be expedited, according to this bill.

Southern Utah University public workers denied housing in 2007 to transgender student Kourt Osborn, who was born female but identified as male in his gender-reassignment transition. The examples show how institutions supported restricting students extraordinarily and should serve as warnings to limit the bill.

David Nelson,
U Political Science Alumnus