Petition calls for WSU to award refunds should virus outbreak close campus

A soon-to-be freshman at the Washington State University in Pullman is asking the college to reconsider a policy. This means students and parents could be out thousands of dollars if by chance coronavirus forces the campus to close.

Most parents already know room and board are not cheap, but facing an option where they could be out money and the potential for fall semester to be cancelled has many asking the university to reconsider.

The Inglemoor High School class of 2020 looked very different than in past years. Social distancing meant graduates celebrated alone and on camera, not to mention all the other activities that mark a senior’s final year.

“High school graduation was a drive by,” said graduate Cynthia Tan. “You sat in a car and they lined you up in last name order.”

But her plans to attend WSU hit a snag when she discovered a housing and residence life contract addendum would not allow room and board expenses to be refunded if a coronavirus outbreak forced the campus to close.

In only a few days, more than 4,500 signed her online petition asking the university to reconsider and students are not the only ones frustrated.

“I think that’s something we have to deal with,” said parent Marie Gail who added her family is making preparations if their WSU freshman student is forced to return home.

Tan wants to study finance, marketing or photography and she’s got time to choose that path, but she is also wondering if going to WSU during a pandemic makes sense.

“I’ve been thinking about community college instead,” said Tan.

A university spokesperson said on Tuesday the Vice President for Student Affairs planned to distribute letters to students and parents offering more information about the addendum.

Q13 News will share more information as soon as it becomes available.