Three University Forest Apartment residents were notified of their eviction from their apartment on Sept. 7 after their resident-assistant apartmentmate resigned.
Junior Caroline Moles said she had received an email from Brittany Leslie, UFA's area coordinator, which notified the women that her apartmentmate had resigned from residence life and all four occupants would have to move out of the apartment. The roommates were given until the weekend of Sept. 11 to move, Moles said.
Patrick Benner, associate dean for residence life, said students who had chosen to live with RAs in residence halls or apartments were required to sign a release that they understood that if the RA resigned or was released all roommates, suitemates or apartmentmates had to move out of the housing and be reassigned to another housing location.
Students must sign the agreement in order to become an RA's roommate or suitemate, Benner said. "They bypass the lottery completely so they're given that housing space as a staff member suite or staff member apartment position," he said.
Any students who have to move out because of this policy are offered available housing on campus, Benner said. "If the space is available," he said, "the housing office will work with them to keep them together, but if not then [the request] just goes to available space."
Moles said although her apartmentmates knew about the policy and contract, she had been unaware of both until she received an email telling her she had to move.
"My situation is a little bit different because I was added to the apartment halfway through the summer," Moles said. "Everyone else in the apartment signed that contract but I had no prior knowledge at all."
Upon notification of eviction, each student has 48 hours to move; students are typically given a longer time frame, depending on when the space needs to be occupied by the replacement staff member, Benner said.
Moles said that although the apartmentmates were at first given from Tuesday to Saturday to move, that was extended until the following Wednesday.
The four women were at first offered residential options, including one triple room and available spaces in double rooms, which contained one occupant, Moles said. Three of the women began looking for off-campus housing and contacting university officials about their dissatisfaction with the RA roommate policy and the available housing options, she said.
The women's parents became involved in contacting university officials, including President Ayers, Steve Bisese and the Richmond and Westhampton College deans' offices, Moles said. Eventually they were given another apartment, she said.
"It was a long process, but I think after our parents got involved the school realized how upset we were," Moles said.
Senior Mary Nagle, Moles' apartmentmate, said she agreed that if it had not been for parental involvement, the women would have been separated among the residence halls or some would have chosen to move off campus.
The apartment the women were conditionally allowed to move into is an unoccupied RA apartment in the 900 block that law students were living in while repairs from flood damage on their housing were completed, Nagle said.
"Another RA who is abroad is supposed to live in the apartment we're in now when she comes back," Nagle said. "If there is an apartment open nearby after first semester, [housing] will move the RA into that apartment instead and that will be the RA apartment.
"I'm hoping that an apartment empties out so that we don't have to move again. I just think that it's a pretty flawed system."
Contact staff writer Sarah Bowers at firstname.lastname@example.org