Seattle Pacific University freshmen Eunice Ineza and Erykah Dodson were suspended from housing on Ashton 4th East following incident reports being filed against them for violating COVID-19 guidelines.
Current guidelines state that students in residence halls are required to wear face coverings unless they are in their bedrooms with the door closed. Students are allowed to have one visitor in their room at a time, from the same floor and must have the door open to do so. Students are also required to wear face coverings when visiting.
Despite recognizing they did in fact violate guidelines, the women were not pleased with how the situation to remove them from housing was handled and believe their punishment was too severe.
“Basically, Eunice and I are in the same predicament- we were supposed to be roommates from the jump and the school chose to put us across from each other.” said Dodson, “Then they kick us out for doing what everyone is doing. Then when we explain our situation and how difficult it’s going to be as out of state students and freshmen women, they still kick us out.”
“Me and my friend Erykah had incident reports and met with Leeza Arzaga (Area of Coordinator of Hill and Ashton) and explained what happened, then she decided to kick us out.” said Ineza, “We appealed the sanction given to us and explained to Gabe Jacobsen that we don’t have jobs at the moment, not financially stable to find a place right now, don’t know anyone in the area, and have in person class so we are unable to go back home.”
Despite the women’s plea for an appeal, housing ultimately decided to continue with the suspension.
“Gabe still decided to proceed with making us move-out, but only giving us 4-5 days to figure out where to go,” Ineza explained.
After the students got their appeal denied, they struggled to find alternative housing.
“Basically we don’t have the money right now and had no place to go after the first few days that we got kicked out.” said Ineza, “We continued to explain the situation to them but they suggested to find friends in the area, but all of our friends are on campus and once again we don’t know anyone. I feel like they don’t understand our situation.”
It is unknown if there have been any other residential evictions on the SPU campus during the 2020-2021 term.
Gabe Jacobsen from Residence Life declined to comment due to confidentiality issues, but some other sources have explained their level of involvement in situations like these.
“They keep the RA’s very much out of the loop.” said Ashton 4th East RA Ester Nascimiento, the girls’ RA. “I didn’t know the girls had to leave the building until the day of.”
This situation arose in the midst of an eviction moratorium within the city of Seattle passed by the Seattle City Council.
In an email, Dean of Student Life Chuck Strawn explained the difference between an eviction and the possible courses of action SPU can take when revoking housing from a student.
“My understanding is that “eviction” is a process that can happen between tenants and landlords, and typically has guidelines that are outlined by state or local law and courts.” said Strawn, “At SPU, we are a private educational organization, which means that we abide by different guidelines… if a student loses the opportunity to live on campus for a period of time, we can describe that as their being suspended from housing. If they lose the opportunity to live on campus for the remainder of their time at SPU, we might describe that as saying that they’ve been dismissed from housing.”
The City of Seattle did not provide a statement on the matter.
Ineza and Dodson are currently staying in an Airbnb until they can find a more permanent place to live. Despite their current situations, the girls have faith that their situation will resolve.
“Erykah feels as though as irritating as this is, everything will be fine.” said Ineza, “We’re staying positive that God has a plan and things will fall into place.”