Some Wayne State University campus residents have been seeking to move out early, citing public health concerns due to high COVID-19 cases on campus and statewide.

WSU anticipates about 1,400 students living on campus during the winter 2021 semester, said Housing Interim Associate Director Nick Board, in an email to The South End. 

The cancelation of Housing License Agreements is required to leave campus housing before the deadline of the agreement. Director of Housing and Dining Operations Kelly Thacker said interested students can visit the WSU Housing and Residential Life website to complete their cancelation request.

Students can request to cancel their agreements with WSU housing under certain circumstances, though approval is not guaranteed

“There are cancellation terms outlined in the Housing License Agreement and all cancellation requests received are reviewed utilizing these terms,” Thacker said. 

Cancelations can be requested if a student graduates or is no longer enrolled, is participating in a student teacher assignment more than 40 miles away from Detroit or is involved with a different program that requires a person to move, according to the agreement.

Students who are denied their cancelation request have the opportunity to submit an appeal that will be reviewed by the Housing Appeals Committee, Thacker said.

Some WSU students have had a hard time terminating their agreements. 

“I had to apply to get out of housing and include a statement by me,” said Hailey Simlar, a sophomore majoring in elementary education with a concentration in mathematics. 

Students who are denied their cancelation request have the opportunity to submit an appeal that will be reviewed by the Housing Appeals Committee, Thacker said.

“They denied me because I stated that I had a history of bronchial spasms and they said they needed proof of that,” Simlar said. “The rise of COVID cases has alarmed me, especially being in the heart of Detroit and that I knew a lockdown was coming and I didn’t want to be in a dorm building, I didn’t feel safe.”

In the appeal, students are encouraged to include information regarding personal situations and circumstances, including COVID-19 concerns, to be reviewed by the Housing Appeals Committee, Thacker said. The decision of the committee is final. 

“This committee is made up of Wayne State staff from Financial Aid, Counseling and Psychological Services, the Campus Health Center, the Ombuds Office, and Housing and Residential Life,” Thacker said. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Simlar said her meeting with the committee was held via Zoom.

“They asked questions about why I wanted to get out of my housing agreement and asked if I had anything else I wanted to add other than the resubmission of my application,” she said. 

The number of people who sent in housing agreement cancellation requests is currently unavailable, Board said in a Jan. 22 email to TSE. Housing numbers will be released after census day next week.

Students can move onto campus anytime during the year when there are vacancies, Thacker said. This year’s HLA ends on May 5, 2021 for all new and current residents since HLA occupancy dates are based upon the academic year.

Cheryl Anderson, a sophomore communications major and former WSU housing employee, said WSU housing has a history of denying students’ cancelation requests and “not empathizing with students’ circumstances,” even before the pandemic.

“They’re not looking out for the wellbeing and the mental stability of the students,” Anderson said. “Knowing that they’re not letting people cancel but they’re letting people move in kinda just shows me that Wayne State obviously does not care about anything other than their monetary benefits.” 

Criminal justice major Kendra Parkman has been pleased with on-campus housing during the fall 2020 semester and is surprised at how well WSU has been handling COVID-19 cases and safety measures.

“They (WSU Housing) are somewhat the reason that our numbers haven’t been increasing at an alarming rate,” Parkman said. “But if there is a situation where a person isn’t comfortable with living there anymore, whether it’s because of COVID or other reasons, I think that they should be able to move out with their reasoning.”


 Bethany Owens is a contributing writer for The South End. She can be reached at gx6114@wayne.edu

Cover photo of Anthony Wayne Drive Apartments sixth floor hallway by Quinn Banks, The South End's multimedia editor. He can be reached at multimediaeditortse@gmail.com.