Cats still OK for RD’s

Hallie Sutton

The one-year review of a policy in place since 2014 revealed that NMU will continue to allow Resident Directors (RD) to keep cats in their apartments. RDs, who already have bachelor’s degrees and live in modified two-bedroom apartments inside the hall they oversee, stay in the position for an average of three to five years. The difference between RDs as staff and enrolled students was key during the summer 2014 review of the policy. “We don’t want Resident Directors to be perceived as above the law,” said Jeff Korpi, assistant director of Housing and Residence Life. “It has to do with what we can control.”

There are only 11 live-in professionals on campus, so there could be better supervision over the policy, which requires the cats to stay within the apartments and to be up-to-date on shots, Korpi said. It also requires a $300 cleaning fee when leaving the apartment. The rules allow for separation between students and cats, and allows a safeguard between the cat and those with allergies, Korpi said. “We were one of only a few schools that didn’t allow or accommodate for some sort of pet for Resident Directors,” Korpi said. Other schools in Michigan have similar policies, including the University of Michigan Flint and Michigan Tech. Brittany Porydzy, RD for Van Antwerp Hall since 2014, has Flynn Ryder, an adopted kitten from UPaws. “Being able to go home to a partner or an animal, so you’re not just going home alone, is a really special thing,” Porydzy said. “I’m really glad that Northern understands that.” Porydzy comes from Connecticut to work at NMU and is like many other RDs working a job away from their home, families and friends.

“To an extent we do need some separation from our job,” Porydzy said. “As much as I adore all the students from Van Antwerp Hall, sometimes I need to have a break from work, because, as much fun as it is, it is work.”

RDs have the choice to make their own rules regarding students visiting the cats. Cecelia Holt, junior Zoology major, lives in Payne Hall where the RD allows students to schedule times that they can drop in and visit Millie.

“I thought it was super cool,” Holt said. She tries to visit Millie about once a month during bad or stressful weeks. “I actually need to schedule time to see Millie soon.”

There has been no backlash from students, and the apartments of the two departing RDs with cats show no sign of damage, or residual signs of a cat such as smell or fur, Korpi said. For now, the policy stays the same.