Update on Petition to ‘Cancel Rent’

This July, SUU junior Jaxton Maez started a petition to “cancel and reduce rent” for students during the upcoming fall semester and has gotten to work on his proposal. 

On Aug. 3 suunews.net released an article that highlighted the ideas Maez had for the upcoming semester. 

With the first week of the fall semester coming to a close, Maez handed out over 100 flyers and spread the word concerning his petition on campus. 

Maez also began working to share the idea with others in his own apartment complex. He posted flyers on each of the doors, a tactic that earned the attention of his rental-property owner, who later contacted Maez. 

“I talked to her, and she wasn’t happy at first, but she eventually asked if she could fix anything,”  Maez said. “I explained that I don’t want to do anything unnecessary, I just want to change a few things.”  

One of those things that Maez is working to change is the contract length of many apartment complexes.

“SUU shortened the semesters to make room for a summer semester, but a lot of the contracts have stayed the same to match the previous semesters,” said Maez.

With a shorter fall semester and unchanged contracts, students are paying more money than they should. 

On his website Maez writes: “SUU switched to a trimester system, cutting two weeks off the usual semester, yet rent is the same or has increased. Many will also leave after Thanksgiving due to COVID and SUU’s schedule, but contracts are not flexible in the least. Fix this mess.”

Maez also knocked on doors within his apartment complex, talking to tenants and noting their grievances within their apartments which included broken air conditioning units, mice and being denied the ability to keep a support dog. 

The petition has received 216 signatures, showing that it has changed from an idea on Twitter to a proposal that could make a difference.

Maez believes if he can receive the signatures of at least a quarter of the residents in his apartment complex, he could eventually start a tenant union.

“If we get enough people to join we are going to have a meeting and write a list of what needs to be fixed and changed,” said Maez. 

Although Maez originally hoped to “cancel rent” completely because of the financial crisis COVID-19 has brought on, he explained that he no longer thinks this is realistic.

“Ideally students wouldn’t have to pay, but for that to happen we would need the government to step in and offer some assistance. I understand landlords still have to pay,” Maez said.

For now, Maez hopes to reduce the contract length to fit the semester and wants to see changes within his own apartment complex before he moves on to others.

Students can sign and share the petition at change.org and can stay up to date on its progress by following Maez’s Twitter account @JaxtonMaez.


Story by: Elizabeth Armstrong
Photos by: Jaxton Maez




Story by: Elizabeth Armstrong
Photos by: Jaxton Maez