Appalachian State University states that its mission is “to create rich environments where students can thrive.” But as The Appalachian made clear Tuesday in the article “Evicted: Appalachian State evicts 13 students from Howard Street housing,” our students are not allowed to “thrive” if their “environments” stand in the way of ASU’s real estate goals: the students residing on Howard Street were evicted as finals are approaching and at a time when, as anyone who talks to students knows, finding housing in Boone is difficult.
In November, students should be studying, not apartment hunting. In this instance, it’s hard to see student well-being as the university’s priority.
ASU’s mission also emphasizes “the responsibilities of community engagement.” Here, too, Physical Plant fell short of our stated goals.
The students were told they were being evicted due to health concerns. Yet ASU’s “Campus Plan 2020” lists as one of its goals the construction of “a new connecting road to extend Brown Street from East Howard Street to King Street”—precisely where the Howard Street residence is located. The evictees were not, however, granted the courtesy of being told the true reason they had to leave.
Faculty who put students in difficult situations are held accountable by student and departmental evaluations.
Administrators, too, should be held accountable. ASU’s eviction of our students in troubling circumstances concerns faculty, students and staff alike.
The Physical Plant Director and the Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs owe the campus an explanation: why did this happen? And will it happen again?
Michael C. Behrent is an associate professor of history and AAUP chapter president at Appalachian State University