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July 26, 2004 - Image 10

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2004-07-26

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, July 26, 2004

NEWS

HOUSING
Continued from Page 1
hdusing crunch has resulted, lead-
ing University Housing to devise a
plan that would provide residence
hal space for all first-year students
who requested it by the deadline.
The plan gave upperclassmen
who signed a lease to live in Cross
or Coman House in the Vera Baits
Residence Halls for the upcoming
year an option to either terminate
their lease, or relocate to NW I, II
or III and pay the same price as
they would have in Baits. In turn,
some families residing in those
three Northwood units were asked
to relocate to the larger and more
expensive NW IV and V but pay the
same price as their old apartments.
This relocation plan will result in
the housing of 30 percent of all
incoming freshman on North Cam-
pus in Bursley and Baits Residence
Halls, the transformation of NW I,
II and III to housing for undergrad-
uates, graduates and families and
the reduction of Family Housing to
NW IV and V.
"The idea that they are taking
(NW) I, II and III forever means
they are taking away low-income
housing - the (families) applying
right now and next year don't have
that option," said Marty Mechten-
berg, a graduate student who lives
in NW IV with his family.

Other than the protest staged on
Friday, residents of Family Housing
met last week with University Hous-
ing officials to list their demands and
to try to negotiate a plan that would
better cater to their needs.
Among the officials who are
working with Family Housing resi-
dents is Alan Levy, director of
housing public affairs. Levy said
the essential move of upperclass-
men to Family Housing would take
place regardless because it was the
only way to make room for the
incoming freshman class. However,
he said the University would con-
tinue working with residents of
Family Housing.
"We are doing whatever we can
do to be as flexible as we can with
respect to the concerns they are
raising," he said. "We have extend-
ed a number of deadlines, we are
establishing two ongoing commit-
tees to work with Housing ... in
regard to the environment in Family
Housing."
Even after meeting with the
administration, however, residents
of Family Housing that oppose the
changes feel that their concerns
have not been properly addressed.
One concern that ranks high
among most of them is what they
call the deterioration of the interna-
tional community that resides with-
in NW I, II and III.
"International students ... would

have no connection to the University
like they do now," said Mechtenberg.
His wife Abigail, a Rackham student,
added that the tight-knit community
that exists in Family Housing allows
residents to depend on each other for
babysitting and cooking - a commu-
nity that may be lost when undergradu-
ates move in.
"It's not because the undergradu-
ates are bad but because there's a
lifestyle difference," she said, citing
single undergraduate mothers who
lived in Family Housing so their
children would not grow up in an
"undergraduate environment."
While preservation of the com-
munity is a concern for most Fami-
ly Housing residents, others' anger
is purely pitted against the adminis-
tration's inability to inform them
earlier of the relocation.
Families residing in NW I, II and
III were notified through e-mail or
mail on July 13 that they could ter-
minate their lease, remain in their
current location or apply to relocate
to an apartment in NW IV or V.
They have until this Saturday to
make their decision.
Albee-Scott said she contacted
Levy in April to confirm rumors
about the possible housing of under-
graduates in Family Housing and was
told that this was not the case. But
many residents of Family Housing
claim that the University has been
turning away applicants to Family

"It's not because the undergraduates are bad *
but because there's a lifestyle difference."
- Abigail Mechtenberg
NW IV resident

Housing since April in anticipation of
a large freshman class.
Levy dispelled the rumors saying
that the University could not make
a confident estimate of its incoming
class until after the May deadline
for freshmen to send in their enroll-
ment deposits. He added that the
housing deadline was even later and
therefore, the number of first-year
students who would need residence
hall space was not known in April.
"There is no question that the
timing is not what anyone would
have chosen. Our general rule of
thumb is if something is changing,
we would want to give current resi-
dents a year's notice," he said.
Director of Housing Carole
Henry denied other rumors that
funds from Family Housing would
be used for the moving costs of
those that were relocating or be put
towards maintenance of NW I, II
and III. She added that Housing
was working continuously to meet
the needs of families on North
Campus, particularly through the
creation of two new committees.

The Overall Quality of Life com-
mittee will examine playground
equipment, laundry, parking and
other facilities in Family Housing
while the Community Standards
committee will oversee safety and
security measures. Henry added
that expansions of laundry and
transportation services were also
underway.
"We are trying to work with our
families. We are trying to do every-
thing we can to minimize the dis-
ruption to any families, or
students," she said. Questions resi-
dents may have are addressed on@
the University's housing website.
Still, those who protested Friday
said the University is acting selfish-
ly and putting on a facade through
meaningless meetings.
"The housing administration just
wants money," said Lily Morishima,
a resident of NW IV. "They don't
care about community. (They) did-
n't talk to us ... and only think of *
the money to be earned from the
undergraduates. This is very dirty,"
she said.

I

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