Residence Life Evicts Students During a Global Pandemic

Jack Jensen, Contributor

COVID-19 has drastically changed everybody’s day-to-day lives, and anxiety for the future has spiked. People fear getting sick, not seeing their family and friends, and losing their jobs. On top of this, some students have to worry about finding housing during this global crisis. Why? Because Augsburg Residence Life has evicted certain students from their on-campus housing. Amanda Erdman, director of Residence Life at Augsburg, along with other staff on Residence Life, have not only increased stress for many of my friends who are living on campus due to unstable home lives, but have continually ignored us when we tried to communicate our issues and concerns. 

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued orders to halt evictions due to the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota. Despite this order, Residence Life has chosen to remove some students from their on-campus housing because they broke Residence Life’s COVID-19 guest policy. In an email to Augsburg residents, Erdman stated, “Residents are not allowed to bring any guests into your residence hall. This also limits residents from other communities and other Augsburg community members.” Some residents, who were quarantining together to avoid loneliness associated with social distancing, were also accused of violating the guest policy. These students have all been sheltering in place at Augsburg since before spring break and during the Stay At Home order, only leaving to get groceries or going to their jobs as essential workers. After talking with the students, Residence Life decided to force them out.

These students opted to stay on campus for various reasons, including to protect their immunocompromised family, for mental health reasons, for family issues, and for lack of resources elsewhere.

During this pandemic, Residence Life’s goal should be to keep people safe, especially those with unstable housing elsewhere. Erdman and Residence Life evicted students illegally against Governor Walz’s orders and continued to leave Augsburg residents confused and frustrated. As students, we are already worrying about our classes, our health, our friends and families, and our wellbeing. Now, we have to worry about housing. Erdman and Residence Life have shown their cards. They do not care about safety. They do not care about our wellbeing. They have shown us that they would rather have students sick living on the streets than sick living on campus. 

This incident with Residence Life makes me confused, frustrated, and even more worried. Erdman and Residence Life should be addressing our issues and answering our questions. Instead, they left me wondering more. Who is ensuring our safety? Where am I supposed to live if this happens to me? How can I trust Residence Life? Isn’t evicting people illegal because of Governor Walz’s order? Does Augsburg even care about its students?