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Posted on Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 9:40 a.m.

Students' property destroyed in North Quad flood not covered by U-M insurance

By Kyle Feldscher

Editor's note: Update: Officials are now reporting there were 32 students displaced. According to original reports, it was believed 100 students were displaced by the flooding.

Personal property belonging to University of Michigan students that was destroyed in Thursday’s flood in the North Quadrangle dormitory won’t be covered by the university’s insurance, according to officials.

University spokeswoman Kelly Cunningham said in a Thursday evening email that students’ personal property is usually covered by the students’ insurance policies.

“Typically, it is a student’s homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance that covers personal property,” Cunningham said.

Students who live on the third and fourth floors were mainly affected. North Quad is a newly built building that began housing students at the beginning of the 2010 fall semester.

About 10:40 a.m. Thursday, a coupling on a three-inch water line to the building’s fire suppression system broke in a fourth-floor stairwell. Thousands of gallons of water flooded the building as the water went to lower floors.

Hallways of the building held inches of standing water while the affected stairwell looked more like Niagara Falls than a path to different floors. The flood displaced at least 96 students and the university is working to fulfill their immediate needs.


Water flows down a stairwell at North Quad on Thursday.

Courtesy photo | Heidi Skrzypek

University Housing spokesman Peter Logan said students who were displaced by the flood will be placed in unused dorm rooms on campus or local hotels. Logan told the Michigan Daily on Thursday that the students who lost items in the flood will have to file claims with their parents’ homeowners insurance or independent renter’s insurance to receive compensation.

To this point, the university is working on cleaning up the building, Cunningham said.

“We are in cleanup mode right now and have not fully evaluated the situation,” she said. “The Student Affairs and housing folks are taking care of the students’ immediate needs.”

The cause of the flood is not clear. Construction on North Quad was completed in time for the 2010 fall semester. The three-year project cost the university $175 million.

North Quad houses the U-M School of Information and portions of the university’s College of Literature, Science and Arts.

Manish Parikh, U-M student body president, could not immediately be reached by Friday morning for comment on the flood.

Video courtesy of Thomas Jean.


Joe Kidd

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 2:48 p.m.

When I went to UM years ago it was made very clear that you had to get your own insurance. Poor headline though, implies UM has such insurance and refused to cover damages.

Elaine F. Owsley

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 12:20 p.m.

As Risk Manager for Domino's Pizza, I would regularly remind our young employees living away from home to check with their parents to see if their "stuff" was covered under their homeowner's policy and if not, then purchase Renter's Insurance" which is reasonable priced and readily available. You can tell them, but you can't make them play it smart.


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 11:24 a.m.

Technically, the University is probably right. But how much personal property damage did the average student suffer? $100? How many students are displaced? 500? Seems to me that $50,000 to make this headache go away for the U would be an easy decision. I don't think the U is obligated to do this, but odds are that these future alumni will more than give back that money in donations, tickets, etc if you treat them well.


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 3:04 p.m.

Thanks, cloakie, it makes even less sense then not to just give the students a small sum to offset the inconvenience and loss of personal property.


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 2:48 p.m.

There are only 20 or so students displaced. The ~90 students the article states are just the students that had to wait until the floor was deemed safe, and they didn't suffer from water damage.

kindred spirit

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 11:11 a.m.

Let's hear some comments from the students and the students' parents who were affected by this failure in plumbing. My heart goes out to these individuals. How many more weeks until the end of the semester?


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 2:46 p.m.

I was one of the 15 or so most severely affected (my room was 10-15 feet from the explosion). I lost most all of my personal possessions. I'm not a materialistic person at all, but I did take this particularly hard considering that BOTH of my hands are nerve damaged, aka constant pain, which has already been hard enough to deal with. And of the ~300 students in the building, I was in the 5% margin who got completely destroyed. So much good luck... The semester ends in 4 weeks. Of which, I'm a graduating senior, who was already stressed enough about finishing my 6 classes (only 16 credits though) with two bad hands. I seriously have no idea how I can finish given the circumstances. Funny point, yes, I'm a senior in a dorm. Why? Because I lived in an off-campus apartment last year with plumbing problems. I specifically decided to spend 7k/ term to live in NQ to specifically avoid plumbing problems... While many university officials HAVE been very caring and helpful, just an equal amount are being total jerks and are just covering their butts, and really don't care about the students. As I commented earlier, an official objected to using twitter to help the students know when meetings would be because of bad publicity. (publicity>>>> students, at umich apparently). SO many comments here are blaming the students without insurance. WELL, I DO have insurance. My parents' H/O policy covers me, BUT we still have a $500 deductible. As mentioned by so many people previously, this is a very fishy situation. They claim they aren't "negligent", sure... ADDITIONALLY, Umich is the 7th richest college in the nation. It's laughable that they rather uphold their "correctness" than spend perhaps 10k to replace all the things the students lost. Pathetic.

Stuart Brown

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 7:41 a.m.

So, this is what $485 per square foot buys you in Michigan? Why am I not surprised! This construction project was somebody's gravy train--let's see if the people who made the most profit are willing to step up and accept responsibility for the shoddy workmanship.


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 2 a.m.

I never would've thought of getting renters insurance for my daughter when she lived in the dorm. I would expect the university to step up. I really hope they will take care of those kids.


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 12:04 p.m.

Did you read the housing contract or housing brochures?


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 12:17 a.m.

I think a bigger issue here is the concern for the short-term and long-term impact on the health and wellbeing of all of the North Quad residents, staff and faculty. The potential for mold growth with this type of disaster is huge - unless there is mass removal of materials over this summer, that potential increases. We'll see what UM chooses to do.

Kai Petainen

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 10:58 p.m.

FYI.... this sounds like important/good news from the University... and that they are working on it. "We are working with each impacted student individually, to help us figure what each student has lost. Between students' personal insurance and University resources, we'll do everything we can to help."


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 10:10 a.m.

Rant spoiler.

Kai Petainen

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 10:37 p.m.

Here's the DPS listing. It's accidental property damage. Property damage (accidental) NQ RESIDENTIAL & ACADEMIC 105 STATE A coupler on a fire suppression pipe broke releasing a lot of water before the pump could be stopped. No injuries but significant damage on several floors of the residential side of the building. Case Status: Incident Report #13-000964

Basic Bob

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 8:19 p.m.

It sure sounds like the building settled.

Patrick Maurer

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 10:25 p.m.

With all the billions U of M has and gets from the tax payers, you'd think they would man up and cover these losses.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 10:22 p.m.

Nobody is hurt but sure have some serious critics. These lines are commissioned and tested before occupancy. U of M testing is even tougher. I have seen these lines tested to 150% of their capacity for extended periods and fail. I would lean towards vandalism- these pipes are unfortunately quite vulnerable as well


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 10:01 p.m.

You mean, spend booze money on insurance... you MUST be joking!!

Dog Guy

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 9:16 p.m.

As with buying a used car after Hurricane Sandy, check carefully for water damage when doing your May 1 dumpster diving near North Quad.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 6:36 p.m.

Renters Insurance would initially cover this, after paying claims the Renters Insurance company will collect from whoever's Liability Insurance is found responsible for the damage. If I were a student and uninsured, I would wait until it is determined who is at fault (someone is) and file a claim with that insurance company. If they refuse to pay, you have a slam dunk liability in Small Claims Court or a Civil Court. This was obviously caused by something defective within the buildings plumbing.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 6:17 p.m.

What it really boils down to in one aspect is that those defending the students believe that they were smart enough to get into U of M however lack the common sense or the parental guidance to know to purchase very inexpensive rental insurance. Now I get why people are upset with the U of M over this issue, however there is also a level of personal responsibility that people must accept. U of M didn't cause this coupling to fail, its more a less a freak accident/equipment since its two years post construction, passed inspections & did its job this entire time. Short of tampering its an accident, which is what insurance is for.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 6:01 p.m.

I'm a former UM employee, and I call BS. The university self insures items below a certain threshold -- a couple of million if I recall correctly. It's not that there's a third party insurance company saying that students' possessions aren't covered, it's the university itself.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 5:57 p.m.

This is not a natural disaster or "Act of God". University or plumbing contractors are at fault, and they should be liable to the damages. Like having your stuff stolen in your apartment, the thief is at fault, therefore they are liable to return the stolen goods to you if they are caught. Insurances are here if thieves cannot get caught. In the flooding case, the at fault party is right here.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 5:28 p.m.

This is a brand-new building. This was a serious failure of (I assume) original equipment purchased from its manufacturer, and installed by the general contractor or its subcontractor. Isn't it possible that one of those parties' general liability insurers may be potentially on the hook? I'd guess also that the parents' H-O policies are well worth looking at.

John Gotts

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 5:12 p.m.

I'm surprised by reading these comments how hostile people are towards students, who are entirely blameless in this situation. Consider that many students, like myself, came to U of M on financial aid. Being on financial aid locks you into not being able to drop classes when your load proves to be too high (you can't drop below 12 credits), forces you to work up to 20 hours a week just to be able to meet expenses (try doing that as an EECS major), and assumes that even working poor parents have a magic money tree they can use to help you out (which left me in an additional $1,200 deficit every year). So you're saying that students should magically be able to afford $100 additional expense? Things were so tight for me I was often hungry, and borderline anemic, because I couldn't always afford to feed myself. Luckily, in my case, I believe my parents had renter's insurance, but not because they could easily afford it. If I faced a similar situation near the end of a semester in EECS, it could have destroyed my GPA for that term, especially if my computer and all of my data was destroyed. You can't exactly lose your computer mid-semester as a computer engineering student and expect to be able to easily recover.


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 3:49 p.m.

John How much does the average student spend on beer, tattoos, every month? How many students have the LATEST phone or ipod?


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 6:20 p.m.

John Gotts how much do you really think this insurance is? I can tell you my kid has never paid beyond $125 for an entire year. That works out to $10.42 per month, you can easily pick that up in bottle returns if need be. Where there is a will there is a way.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 5:59 p.m.

@Usual Suspect, you are the usual suspect for being hostile toward students. graduate or undergraduate. But like they said, smelly people cannot smell their own odor.

Usual Suspect

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 5:56 p.m.

"I'm surprised by reading these comments how hostile people are towards students, who are entirely blameless in this situation." I don't see anybody being hostile toward students.

Are you serious?

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 5:05 p.m.

I have to side with the comments that this is a personal responsibility issue. Any parent who sends a child off to school with expensive electronics, etc., should know enough to check on insurance and plan accordingly. I don't blame the kids and I doubt that those who said they did not have insurance when they went years ago knew that much about their parent(s) insurance policies.

Stuart Brown

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 7:29 a.m.

Another one of those "the little people are accountable and responsible but the king is not" comments.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 5:04 p.m.

For those lamenting the "bad PR" the U will get. Do you REALLY think they care? Does that mean they will have to go to recruit kids the next couple years?


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 2:32 p.m.

I am a student that was one of those most severely affected. While at a meeting yesterday to talk about our issues, a student asked for more helpful ways to get updates about these meetings. A man, I forgot his title, suggested twitter, to HELP our students know when meetings were going to take place, this woman replied "that isn't a good idea as EVERYONE would know", so they opted not too. They care MORE about their PR instead of actually helping their students. It's disgusting.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 4:49 p.m.

When my boys were in college, I remember that their dorm room personal belongings were covered by my home owners insurance (per our insurance agent).


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 4:46 p.m.

There is the principle of insurance and "tough lessons" and the reality of liability. U-M will almost certainly be held liable for the destruction of property if they do not offer a settlement; it makes zero difference if these kids are insured or not. If you rent a car from Hertz and the wheels fall off because their fleet tech didn't bolt down the tire, and you are injured, Hertz is responsible. If you make a claim with your insurance company, they will pay you, and then they will pursue Hertz with a vengeance. This is the principle of subrogation. If you have no insurance, you could hire a lawyer to sue Hertz, and you would almost certainly win. That's why they have liability insurance to the tune of millions of dollars a year. U-M is responsible. Period. And they will pay. PS: Flood insurance usually relates to natural disasters, not water mains bursting all over the place.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 6:57 p.m.

Yeah, Billy and Johnny are in agreement! That's more infallible than the pope!!


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 5:31 p.m.

Thank least ONE person here seems to understand what LEGAL LIABILITY is.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 5:28 p.m.

You would need to prove forseeability and somebody doing something that is GROSSLY NEGLIGENT to win that case. If Hertz does not tighten the bolts on your tire down, that is GROSS NEGLIGENCE and FORSEEABLE that is would cause a crash. By the same token, if you rent a car and your tire ruptures, Hertz is in NO WAY responsible, even of the tire is defective.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

The loss and disruption faced by these students is very unfortunate. As a student or a parent of a student in this "newly built" building, however, I would be much more concerned about the fact that the fire suppression system in the building is obviously a problem. What if that coupling on that three-inch water line had failed during a fire? When the sprinklers are activated, water is supposed to come out. Three-inch waterline fittings don't just "fail." There are only two explanations possible here, and both of them are potential nightmares: Either the coupling was made of sub-standard materials that could not withstand the pressure; or the coupling was improperly installed. If the materials are sub-standard, then the entire system is compromised and needs to be inspected. If the coupling was improperly installed, it's reasonable to believe others were also, so the entire system would need to be inspected. Is any of this going to happen?


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 10:06 p.m.

So, live in an old dorm where age is blamed for failures... cold comfort


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 6:02 p.m.

The story says the coupling failed, not that it was tampered with. Since vandals are usually carrying the specialized tools necessary to loosen a three-inch line that's most likely buried in a ceiling or a wall, it was obviously stupid of me not to consider that. And as for "accident," you are right, I guess it's possible the coupling was hit by a car, right, or maybe a portion of the building fell on it?


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 5:24 p.m.

"There are only two explanations possible here" So Vandalism isnt a possibility? An accident isnt a possibility? I guess YOU know every possible thing that could ever happen. I have just presented two that have nothing to do with poor workmanship or an entire system being compromised.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 4:25 p.m.

A student's personal property can potentially be covered through their parent's homeowners insurance, which may extend coverage to an on-campus dorm. Any available coverage is limited to the named perils on the homeowners policy, which will cover (amongst other things) theft, vandalism, and some water losses. That's better than nothing, many carriers will NOT offer renters insurance to individuals living in a dorm. To have U-M state that students should have renters insurance while living in a dorm (when most carriers consider that an ineligible risk) is a disservice.

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 4:19 p.m.

Most insurance policies do not cover flood damage. It is an extra. Some life lessons come at a heavy price. How many people are prepared for a washing machine hose break while they are out of town for the weekend, or on vacation?

Jack Gladney

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 4:49 p.m.

This was not a flood. A plumbing failure is not a flood.

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 4:17 p.m.

How long did the water flow until someone turned off a valve to stop it?


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 5:06 p.m.

the MI Daily stated 20 minutes, but that was long enough to pour thousands of gallons, since the system was trying to re-pressurize the 4" open pipe (this wasn't a small sink pipe). 20 minutes sounds like a long time, but when you think about how long it 1) takes for someone to recognize the problem in a stairwell (probably because of the raining water, 2) find someone who knows how to call Plant, 3) for plant to respond, 20 minutes could pass easily. such a shame though for all the damage. that whole wing is going to have to be gutted and re-drywalled/re-carpeted.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 4:14 p.m.

Even if they have insurance through their parents homeowners or an independent renters policy, flood damage may not be covered. It depends on the company and the policy. Flood insurance is often an added extra to a standard homeowners policy and renters policy, regardless of the cause of the flood. Read the fine'd be surprised what insurance companies consider a "flood." And it's not just natural disasters. "About 10:40 a.m. Thursday, a coupling on a three-inch water line to the building's fire suppression system broke in a fourth-floor stairwell. Thousands of gallons of water flooded the building as the water went to lower floors." This is UM's responsibility since the water line broke in their building. They should pay for damage to students' property in those dorm rooms. They have the big bucks. Remember that billion dollar endowment they are sitting on and don't pay any taxes on? They can afford it. Fighting with parents who will claim it's UM's fault when their homeowner's insurance doesn't cover flood damage isn't worth the bad PR. Pay up, UM!


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 4:16 p.m.

Endowment money is special use money. It cannot be used for anything else than what it was intended for. In other words, if someone donated a million dollars for a schools research department, it cannot be used for anything other than that (like paying to replace a student's wet laptop). This is why people have insurance. For unforseeable incidents. Most homeowners insurance plans will cover a students belongings while they are away at college, although the deductible will apply. It will be up to the homeowner if they will pursue the Univeristy to get reimbursed for the deductible.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 4:28 p.m.

By definition, "flood" does not apply here since this is due to a plumbing failure. Water can be tricky from a coverage standpoint, but an example of a "flood" (according to the National Flood Insurance Program) would be if the Huron River overflowed & caused damage based on FEMA guidelines (basically, either having a % of your property underwater and/or 1 of your neighbors also experiencing river water in their home).

Tom Joad

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 3:54 p.m.

All the drywall will have to be removed and replaced. Otherwise you're looking at potential mold growth and exposure.

Basic Bob

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 8:09 p.m.

And the university will pay for those repairs out of pocket if their insurance doesn't cover it.

Homeland Conspiracy

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 11:14 p.m.

OMG NNNNNNNnnnoooooooooooooo


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 3:44 p.m.

When I was a freshman the people across the hall set off the sprinkler system flooding our floor and a couple floors below it with black water. The University said it wasn't their fault, but did give us $10 in blue bucks so we could do laundry.

Chris Blackstone

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 3:43 p.m.

I would love to see a survey of the UM student body to determine how many have/had renter's insurance when living in the dorms. I bet it's single-digits. I could understand if rooms were broken into, but the fact that UM's facilities caused the destruction should be cause for UM to replace any damaged items.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 6:35 p.m.

When I lived at Bursley -- oh so long ago in 1981! -- I never thought about insurance. Maybe my Dad did, I don't know. In reality it didn't matter, I had almost nothing of value. My largest investment was probably in text books. I can't think of anything else I had that was worth much.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 3:49 p.m.

True, many people don't think about these kind of things, if they've never had to think about before. Fact remains the same, myself and my responsible friends had expensive computer equipment and personal hiking gear and we went out and got renters insurance. We were the exception to the rule, but that doesn't make UM liable for laziness or ignorance, regardless of where the damage came from.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 3:27 p.m.

Unfortunate situation, certainly--I feel for the kids who've lost their computers or schoolwork at this point in the term and have had their lives disrupted. I hope they can bounce back without too much harm. As for insurance: I don't think any of us had renters' insurance when I was a student (quite a few years ago); it wouldn't have occurred to us. On the other hand, very few of us had expensive objects in our dorm rooms--record players with fold-out speakers were about the extent of it, apart from books and clothes and memorabilia. I'm pretty sure that none of us would have expected the school to compensate us if an unforeseeable accident had resulted in damage to our belongings, but again, maybe that's because we had less costly stuff. Or maybe the world--i.e., the prevailing mentality--really was different. Sometimes it does feel that way to me.

Usual Suspect

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 5:52 p.m.

Agree. No console video games, no cell phones. Maybe some records. Cheap clothing. A TI-30 calculator. I think the most expensive - and most valuable - item I had was my bike.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 3:25 p.m.

UM does recommend insurance coverage on their housing website: "We recommend that you determine in advance if your possessions are covered by homeowner's insurance while you are on campus. Some policies have riders that allow coverage of personal possessions away from the insured home; others do not. If your property is not already covered by insurance, we strongly encourage you to obtain coverage for your stay in the residence halls. The University of Michigan assumes no liability for loss, theft or damage to personal property."


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 3:19 p.m.

just part of the real world education that students strive to avoid, mostly


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 3:17 p.m.

I am truly sorry for the loss of property for those students, especially since students usually bring everything they own with them to college, so their loss is unimaginable. But there is a tough and true lesson here: contrary to popular belief, no one owes you anything. It is not UM's responsibility to ensure that you have renters insurance and/or have insurance for each and every one of their students that live in the dorms. This is one of those life lessons that you will just need to learn from and cowboy up. Also, ask your parents why they didn't mention renters insurance once you moved out of the dorms... Like Chris said, "ignorance of the law is no excuse".


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 3:17 p.m.

The cause of the flood is not clear. Construction on North Quad was completed in time for the 2010 fall semester. The three-year project cost the university $175 million. ........ Bet UM will try to pin this one on the Construction Company.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 10:05 p.m.

And with good reason if it was due from faulty construction.

David Cahill

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 3:13 p.m.

The University could reimburse students without insurance for their losses, if it chooses to do so. The U certainly does not lack for funds, and the flooding was due to defects in its construction, maintenance, or both.

Stuart Brown

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 7:18 a.m.

It does not matter if it was vandalism; the U should be liable for all damage. These students pay obscene room and board charges and should get something back in return.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 10:04 p.m.

Hmmm, good point SemperFi


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 6:23 p.m.

DC, how do you know that it wasn't vandalism?


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 3:09 p.m.

Many of life's lessons aren't free - especially when it comes to insurance and unforeseen events.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 10:22 p.m.

Paul, new cars never fail...right? It could have been something as simple as a manufacturing defect in the pipe they installed in the building. The instant you ever assume something is OK when it comes to insurance, is when you actually need it. Just because something is less likely, doesn't mean that it never happens.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 10:03 p.m.

If the building was poorly built, then its not really an unforeseen event. Common sense says a 3 year old building should have water pipes bursting.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 3 p.m.

I never knew about renter's insurance until after I moved out. I hope most people are covered under their parent's insurance.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Is the Bernstein firm conflicted out from representing the students if they do try and sue?


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 2:48 p.m.

I would think having insurance is common sense, at least it was when I rented my first place 30 some years ago. If they didn't know this their parents sure let them down.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 5:56 p.m.

It is Cinnabar, my kid had it in the door, and even now in the Medical School at an off campus apartment, apparently people here need to be dictated common sense.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

"Logan told the Michigan Daily on Thursday that the students who lost items in the flood will have to file claims with their parents' homeowners insurance or independent renter's insurance to receive compensation." Well that is until the lawyers come out....then I think U of M will be paying a pretty penny...

Hugh Giariola

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 11:45 a.m.

What if the students hire the Bernstein's?


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 12:50 a.m.

Sorry Billy, you need to rent a clue. Many incoming Freshman and (maybe) a majority of Sophomores do NOT use UM housing. Not sure about the percentage of Sophomores, but my kid and friends were among them (two years ago). So...yep.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 8:05 p.m.

Good luck with that lawsuit. It won't go anywhere. It's very difficult to sue a public university. The burdon of proof is much higher since MI tax payers essentially fund the University (even if the University has millions of dollars). The students would essentially be suing the State taxpayers.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 4:47 p.m.

stating the research has found that living in a residence hall provides a positive transition to college life for an 18-year old who has never lived independently before is different than your insinuation that the university is fleecing students and parents out of their money by requiring it for "two years if you are out of state - no exceptions". When my parents attended college there were house mothers, single sex dorms, and curfew times; a generation ago and times have certainly changed. Using your mother's experience to state emphatically the university's policy is a dangerous practice, albeit a common one for commenters on


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 3:22 p.m.

Then that policy has changed...because that was the policy when my mother went to U of M...and that was the policy when my friends attended over a decade ago. If you the paragraph right before that statement they say, "Research in student development, and our own experiences, show that first-year students need the campus residential experience to help them transition from home life to more independent living and study at a university." That is almost the EXACT justification they used before to force out-of-state freshman to live on campus.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 3:10 p.m.

Billy, you are incorrect that the University requires "most of these students are FORCED to live in those MUST live in on-campus housing for the first 2 years at U of M if you are out of exceptions." A google of the housing website easily finds the following information: "Incoming freshmen are not required to reside on campus..."


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 2:55 p.m.

"Screwing their students over" Seems they screwed themselves over, how do you make it into the U of M and be so clueless on the most basic things in life?


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 2:45 p.m.

This would be a class-action I'm sure....and THAT could be very damaging. Also all the negative publicity about the university screwing their students over that live in THEIR dorms. Considering how much money those students are paying for tiny dorm rooms...yeah I think there will be lawsuits from angry parents. Also keep in mind that most of these students are FORCED to live in those MUST live in on-campus housing for the first 2 years at U of M if you are out of exceptions. They have this requirement because they make a LOT of money on student housing and this guarantees them renters no matter what.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 2:34 p.m.

I highly doubt the University lawyers will even blink at any private attorney a student's family throws at them.

Homeland Conspiracy

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 2:33 p.m.

Better call Saul Goodman

Jack Gladney

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

This is commonsense. Hopefully their parents have it covered, or have taught their youngsters the importance of having insurance to cover their personal possessions as with renters' insurance. But then again, for some that falls under the category of personal responsibility and we no likey that.

Usual Suspect

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 5:48 p.m.

Yeah, that would have been a great topic of conversation in the dorm. So, who do you get your renter's insurance from? Should have thought of that - I would have picked up more chicks with that.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 5:18 p.m.

@ Chris, I have no idea who had renters insurance and who did not when I live din dorms because IT NEVER CAME UP. There were a lot of conversations then, but never once did the concept of renters insurance come up, even if I personally had it. In fact, as an adult the conversation of renters insurance or condo insurance, or homeowners insurance never comes up. Do I assume people have it? Quite frankly, i don't really care. Many apartment complexes require renters to have it. I also believe many home owners policies cover students away from home. I'd also bet that the losses would not be that much. SOme close might have gotten wet, butt the valuables (laptops, cell phones) would be easily picked up in this situation. The U IS 100% responsible for providing the students with living conditions for which they have already paid. The U will need to provide transportation the students with equal or BETTER living arrangements, since they are the landlord.

Jack Gladney

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

@Chris Why, yes my father had me and my siblings all take out renters' insurance policies with a small deductible when we went off to school so that if something happened, such as a PC or other valuable being stolen, we would be protected better from a loss. And it cost about $100 per year. Personal responsibility. What's your policy? (that could be a commercial tag line)


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 3:21 p.m.

Just because everybody is doing the wrong thing by not getting renters insurance, doesn't make UM liable for their inability to take action in their own life.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 2:40 p.m.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 2:34 p.m.

Did you have renters insurance when you lived in a dorm? Per my other comment, I don't recall one student mentioning/having renters insurance when I lived in the dorms at the U. It never came up.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 2 p.m.

Does UM explicitly notify students when they choose dormitories that their personal possessions are not insured?

Chester Drawers

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 1:11 p.m.

Chris, I probably was in college many more 'moons ago' than you, but in my day students didn't have the kind of electronic valuables that warrant insuring like they do today. Books, a few pair of jeans, and t-shirts were about it!


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 6:31 p.m.

Yes, the U does tell people their belongings are not covered when they sign the contract for the room. Most parent's homeowners insurance will cover their kids dorm rooms belongings.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 5:54 p.m.

Chris, go back and READ the link AGAIN because it most specifically says: "University Housing also recommends buying renter's insurance." Couldn't be anymore clear for people to comprehend.

Susie Q

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 5:40 p.m.

When my child enrolled at Grand Valley State and lived in university housing (dorms/student apts), the rental agreement makes it clear that personal property is not "covered". I am sure that if parents read the UM housing agreement, they were aware of the need for a rider on their homeowner's policy (or check with their agent) or renter's insurance. As I recall, our homeowner's policy covered our child's personal belongings up to a certain amount.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 4:59 p.m.

Billy See DBH's comment below. Maybe you should have looked before commenting!

Usual Suspect

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 3:21 p.m.

Why would anybody think their personal stuff would be insured by somebody from which you rent a room? There's no reason for anybody to assume that your stuff would be insured by the U of M. And it's not U of M's responsibility to inform them that it isn't. It would be nice if they did inform them, though. "I don't recall a single student having any sort of renters insurance when I lived in the dorms many moons ago." I believe you. But they should. I will add that most people who rent apartments don't have insurance, either, which in my opinion is a big mistake. It is extremely inexpensive (or at least it was when I rented an apartment).


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

That link has absolutely NO information...nor does it link to any information...about renters insurance. Liability is liability....a "waiver" that the students may have signed when they signed a renters agreement can't legally have wording in it that does things like absolves the university of their legal responsibilities. Waivers are designed to scare people off from suing...they're usually not legally binding because of the manner in which they're signed...much like EULAs are not legally binding.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 2:33 p.m.

I don't recall a single student having any sort of renters insurance when I lived in the dorms many moons ago. I don't recall any sort of messaging to parents along the lines of "hey, get some renters insurance." Once I moved off-campus, yes to renters insurance.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

That's common sense in ANY rental unit, not just the dorms, you would think the students and YES if you had looked U of M does advise the students to purchase their OWN insurance whether it be for a dorm or off campus dwelling.

Evan Smith

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 1:59 p.m.

Understandable, although quite unfortunate.

Michigan Reader

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 11:36 p.m.

I mean, in this case the U is immune. There are exceptions to governmental immunity.

Michigan Reader

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 11:33 p.m.

The U isn't responsible because a water line coupling isn't subject to ongoing maintenance. The U is also protected by governmental immunity for "ordinary" negligence.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 10 p.m.

How can a building only 3 years old have a problem like this ? Where / who was the city inspectors who OK the building 3 years ago ? Are there other unknown problems with the building ? I would move out, regardless which floor I was on.

Angry Moderate

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 7:06 p.m.

No. They charge tuition based on what people are willing to pay, not their costs. Additionally, holding the U responsible (if the problem was their fault) would incentivize them to be more careful so that there will be less accidents in the future. Students have no way of fixing construction and plumbing problems on their own, so charging them for it is pointless. It's highly likely that the insurance companies who provide renter's coverage to these kids will sue the U themselves.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 5:46 p.m.

SUE? I'm surprised to see people suggesting the University be sued. That will only logically cause tuition to be raised down the road should their costs go up, right ?

Angry Moderate

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

This was my thought. I hope the students look into whether the U was negligent in maintaining the water line--maybe they can still sue for reimbursement.