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November 19, 2008 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2008-11-19

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Baits won

aving no knowledge of the
University's campus when I
opened my housing packet to
find Baits I on my contract, I turned
to the Internet for information.
"Baits is an amazing community
that allows you to get involved and
build lasting friendships during
your first year at Michigan" reads a
description on the housing website.
Whoever wrote that could have
drafted speeches for Donald Rums-
feld during the run up to the Iraq
War. I don't know who Vera Baits
was or what atrocity she committed,
but it must have been terrible for the
University to punish her as they
have, naming their most disgraceful
installation in her memory.
Let's be clear. Baits is no com-
munity. It's pure freshman hell. The
one dormthat,upontellingsomeone
you live there, unfailinglyengenders
an apology. and a compassionate
hand on your shoulder. My time in
that heinous northern hovel wasn't
a housing assignment at all. It was a
non-commutable eight-month pris-
on sentence with limited visitation
rights to Central Campus.

For most students, their fresh-
man hallway is an easy and reliable
source of companionship. Many end
up living with friends they meet on
their floor and keep those relation-
ships throughouttheir college years.
The set up of Baits completely robs
.its residents of that possibility. My
hallway, scenically located in a half-
lit basement, featured all of four
doors. And I was the only freshman
- stuck between a minority peer
advisor and a fifth-year senior who
had been living in that same Baits
room for all five years. I assume he
was a masochist.
I tried to look on the bright side.
After all, I had a big room and I
shared a bathroom with only one
person. But that room had paper-
thin walls and the woman next door
liked to play her god-awful Ne-Yo
albums into the early hours of the
morning while she loudly argued
with her friends about inane details
of her sexual preferences. Try fall-
ing asleep to that.
Then there was the mail situa-
tion. On several occasions, I went to
get my mail only to find that pack-

ages a
open
could
plus t
When
said he
like th
Li
d
not su
suspec
longer
Wee
strang
That's
cably h
tral. Y
still no
is the
dining
retail f
You ca
bus to

nd letters had been ripped an understatement.
and valuables stolen. Once So, unable to get mail, a meal,
have been an accident. Five sleep, a sanitary bathroom, or peo-
imes is out-and-out theft. ple to talk to, I figured things were
confronted, the hall director at their worst. That is, until my
had "never heard anything neighbor started her witch hunt.
is." So I went to DPS. Well, For some reason, starting second
semester, she started banging on my
door and asking me if I was smoking
ife in the least in my room. I never was and never
did, making this a very confusing
esirable dorm and unwelcome interruption.
This peaked when I heard a loud
on campus knock at my door one night, fol-
lowed by a booming "OPEN UP,
DPS!" The officer said they had
rprisingly, they turned up no "received a complaint about mari-
ts and my parents were no juana smoking." He proceeded to
able to send me mail. enter my room and began searching
'kends are an especially for contraband, opening drawers
e time for North Campus. and moving things around. Minutes
when the University inexpli- later, he confirmed that there was
salts most bus service to Cen- nothing to be found, and went next
bu can wait for an hour and door to inform my neighbor who
t catch one. Coupled with that called in the complaint. Considering
fact that Baits doesn't have a everything else wrong with Baits,
hall and the North Star, their random police searches were a little
ood shop, closes on weekends. more than I could handle.
n'tbuy food, and can't get on a It may sound like I'm just airing
go get food. Insult to injury is out a string of complaints to illus-

trate how much I despise the Baits
experience. Well, I am. And why
shouldn't I? Living in that slum
was, without rival, the worst eight
months of my life. In the battle for
my sanity, Baits won. I was miser-
able on a daily basis and there was
nothing I could do to change that
because of where I lived and how
that place operated.
It's sadistic for a well-endowed
university to subject students to that
kind of torture, especially while it
spends hundreds of millions of dol-
lars to build a new state of the art
North Quad and Hill Dining Center.
The University ought to tear down
those shacks and erase that ugly
blight on their otherwise impressive
campus. An administration so con-
cerned with equality of opportunity
should stop institutionally disad-
vantaging a thousand students every
year by sticking them in those hell-
holes. My heart goes out to everyone
forced to live there now. I just hope
that soon, no one has to.
-William Petrich is
an LSA sophomore

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