What happens if your roommate dies?


Exploring Marquette’s rumors.

Many rumors circulate around campus regarding what happens if your roommate dies, including free housing or even free tuition. Some students even heard you can get straight A’s.

To anyone out there hoping that their roommates might meet untimely ends and take the pressure off their student loans, that urban legend is just that: a legend.

Resident Assistants from Straz Tower, Abbottsford, McCormick and O’Donnell residence halls all confirmed there is no such policy in place. RAs go through extensive training and are well versed in the ins-and-outs of Office of Residence Life policies.

“It’s my first year (as an RA), but I have never heard from (ORL) that students get free housing if a roommate passes away,” said Daniel Cibich, a sophomore in the College of Health Sciences and an RA in Abbottsford Hall.

“I would assume that the resident would get the same options as if their roommate were to leave or drop out,” said Haley Jones, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration and an RA in McCormick Hall. “You either pick a new roommate, buy out the space for roughly $2,000 or get a random roommate.”

The origin of such a rumor is unknown, although it seems it has been around for a long time. In fact, two 1998 movies, “Dead Man on Campus” and “Dead Man’s Curve” were created based on the concept.

Just as the case with any students affected by a traumatic experience, grieving roommates would have access to university counseling resources and could talk to their professors about extensions and help. But any assistance or special benefits would be at the discretion of individual professors or hall directors.

In the end, each hall director can act however he or she deems appropriate for the situation. This may entail giving the resident extra time to adjust to the unfortunate situation and perhaps find a new roommate on his or her own, and just a general high level of sympathy when handling such a situation.

Instances of roommates dying unexpectedly are thankfully quite rare, and therefore any such instances are dealt with on a case-by-case basis, with any idea of a “free-housing” policy or something similar seeming to be mythical at best.

This myth: debunked.