ASU reverses housing policy for student diagnosed with cancer

The student had been violating ASU’s emotional support animal policies since August

An ASU student who was previously given the ultimatum of leaving University housing or getting rid of an emotional support dog will be able to keep his current on-campus housing accommodations, according to documents obtained by The State Press.

“With your recent diagnoses and your recently submitted paperwork; Housing and in conjunction with the Disabilities Resource Center, we are allowing you, Chesterfield and Lavender to reside in Rosewood,” reads an email from a University Housing official addressed to Phillip Hedges, a sophomore studying psychology.

Hedges was diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma on Sept. 12 and has been in and out of the hospital for the last few weeks, leaving his two emotional support dogs, Lavender and Chesterfield, to be cared for by ASU staff.

Despite multiple violations of University policy, including leaving his dogs unattended and not initially having them registered at ASU, the University is allowing both to remain with Hedges in his Barrett, the Honors College residence hall — with the stipulation that ASU staff can't care for them in his absence. 

On Sept. 10 a different University Housing official sent Hedges an email stating that he will need to move out by Friday, Sept. 20 if he does not comply with ASU’s request, according to documents obtained by The State Press. 

“Should (you) decide to keep both Chesterfield and (Lavender) with you, University Housing will move forward in canceling your License Agreement for the 2019-2020 academic year at 5:00pm, Friday, September 20, 2019,” the email stated.

Living without both of his dogs was never an option, Hedges said. 

“My dogs are what I worry about the most,” Hedges said. “They are not just dogs to me; people are telling me to get rid of one and I would never do that. We'd all three be living on the streets before doing that.”

Ben Hogen, a close friend of Hedges who does not attend ASU, said he wants to help him in any way he can.

"Ever since this started, I've just been trying to help him out because his resources are so limited,” Hogen said. “As students, we go into debt just to be able to have a good future and a professional career and we don't expect to have to deal with cancer as a college student."

The University declined to comment Tuesday by the time of publication. 


Reach the reporter at Jzrobers@asu.edu and @JadinStatePress on Twitter. 

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