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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Evictions carry heavy price tag for students

    Psychology freshman Gibran Ameer works at his desk in the Graham-Greenlee Residence Hall.
    Psychology freshman Gibran Ameer works at his desk in the Graham-Greenlee Residence Hall.

    Residence Life evictions are down slightly this year, but they are still costing students who are kicked out nearly $250,000 per year.

    Last semester, 56 students were evicted from their residence halls – six less than this time last year, said Jim Van Arsdel, director of Residence Life and University Housing.

    With the cost of a residence hall averaging $4,458 per year, an evictee must pay the full lease amount, regardless of whether they were evicted Sept. 1 or May 15, Van Arsdel said.

    But Lexi Wilson, a pre-business freshman, said she thinks an evictee should not have to pay the full housing amount.

    “”Just ’cause people get kicked out doesn’t mean they should have to pay,”” she said. “”They should get their money back. People mess up.””

    Residents are aware of the rules, especially the ones that can lead to an eviction, Van Arsdel said. Residents read and sign a contract stating that they fully understand all the regulations and consequences of their actions. Also, during orientation, students and their parents receive a breakdown of the guidelines and the consequences of violations.

    “”We hit people over the head with the message multiple times,”” Van Arsdel said. “”If students are smart enough to attend the university, then there is no reason for them not to understand.””

    Andy Hall, a freshman majoring in English, said he believes an evictee should have to pay their full residence hall cost when evicted.

    “”(The directors) were really clear about the rules and made the consequences clear as well,”” Hall said.

    Van Arsdel said charging the evictees is necessary in order to keep prices down for the rest of the residents.

    “”Why should a student who didn’t do anything have to pay for the student who did?”” Van Arsdel said.

    The Resident Life budget is set at the beginning of the year, so if someone is evicted and then refunded his or her money, other residents will have to make up for the money lost.

    “”We don’t reduce our staff if someone is evicted,”” Van Arsdel said. “”Nor do we cut the utilities.””

    Students can be evicted for numerous reasons, like possessing illegal drugs, having a weapon, physically hurting another resident or receiving multiple underage drinking violations, Van Arsdel said.

    The rules are in place to make the residents safe, he said.

    “”We encourage the sense of belonging and identity,”” he said. “”It’s the first time away from home, and we want it to be a good experience.””

    The University of Arizona Police Department usually responds to residence hall situations that the hall director or resident assistant cannot handle, said UAPD spokesman Sgt. Eugene Mejia. The calls vary, but the situations usually deal with underage drinking, disruptive behavior or any criminal activity.

    UAPD conducts investigations and gives their findings to Resident Life, which ultimately decides whether to evict a resident.

    “”When they get kicked out, it costs them and their parents a lot of money,”” Mejia said.

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