EDITORIAL: University action’s to be applauded

Although Kent State does not normally cover student loss of property, the university plans to reimburse students for property damaged in the fire in Allyn Hall two weeks ago. Last week, Dave Young, associate treasurer and risk manager for Treasury, Tax and Risk Management Services, said the university may choose to cover losses in unusual circumstances.

In this circumstance, the university has announced it will cover the damages experienced by students living in rooms near room 316, where the fire began, said Administration Vice President David Creamer. Kent State will wait to decide whether it will cover the damages incurred by the students who lived in room 316 until a cause of the fire is determined.

In light of Kent State’s decision, this editorial board applauds the university for its decision to take the higher road – especially when it does not have to.

As of yesterday, the university had processed $25,000 to $30,000 in payments for students who experienced damages in the Allyn Hall fire, Creamer said. This figure excludes the costs of dry cleaning and replacing books, for which cost figures are not currently available.

The Daily Kent Stater reported last week that the university does not normally cover student loss of property because it is self-insured for any damages less than $100,000, Young said. In other words, Kent State has to pay for all possible damages less than $100,000 out of its own funds.

In this case, the damages will exceed the minimum amount and will be covered by the insurance. The university plans to file damages to Allyn Hall and student property as one insurance claim. Initial rough estimates of the damage costs were $750,000.

Many would argue that the university should be required to take care of damages regardless. However, the rules of the residence hall agreements, which dictate that the university does not cover student loss of property, are similar to rules of other lease agreements issued by apartment complexes in the area, Creamer said.

According to Rentersecurity.com, most, if not all, apartment communities and landlords have insurance policies that do not cover damage to or theft of renters’ personal belongings. Typically, landlords’ insurance policies only cover the building in which one lives – not one’s personal belongings.

Although the university is covering damages for many students of Allyn Hall, it maintains that it will continue to hold students responsible for protecting their belongings from theft and other damage, Creamer said.

“We want students to recognize that they need to protect their merchandise,” he said. “We would not step in and address that.”

The students of Allyn Hall are lucky that the university has decided to cover the damages to their personal belongings. For future reference, those who live in the residence halls or apartment complexes may want to look into purchasing renters insurance, which can cover the costs of replacing their personal belongings when they are damaged, stolen or vandalized. According to Rentersecurity.com, premiums at some companies can begin at $12 per month, or roughly 40 cents per day. The Web site is probably correct in advising that 40 cents a day tends to be much cheaper than replacing all of one’s possessions.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.