YPSILANTI -- The Eastern Michigan University (EMU) Student Senate passed a resolution urging the administration to put students first when implementing a new housing plan.
Resolution 105-31, co-written by Senators Colton Ray, Luis Romero and Student Body Vice-President Ethan Smith, speaks to the talk about Eastern Michigan moving forward with a privatized housing plan in the near future, as soon as fall 2019.
This comes after talks that EMU would potentially move towards a public-private deal with housing, much like it has with Chartwells Dining and Park EMU.
“This resolution shows compromise,” Senator Romero said. “It shows discussions and debate of individuals. Our main goal here is not to put in our own points of view … rather a group of core principles we believe should be representative of the student body.”
The resolution asks the university to take the student’s voice into consideration much like the public-private partnership with Dining Services as that was endorsed in advance from the student body president before that deal happened.
“Talking with multiple students, many [students] support this position and that is who we are supposed to represent,” spoke up Senator Kirk Suchowesky.
One point also made in the resolution was how the new partnership with LAZ parking did not consider the voice of EMU’s community. The partnership started the fall 2018 semester off with many upset by the lack of transparency from LAZ and the University on changes with new policies.
“At first, I wasn’t so sure on this resolution, but I know Senator Ray and Senator Romero worked extremely hard on it … I think this position is one we want to take as the student body senate,” Speaker of the Senate Taylor Lawrence said.
“I felt like this was important when I first decided to write this with [Senator Ray and Vice President Smith]; we need to make a decision because this is a major issue involving a lot of students, which is why I am urging you to vote for this,” Senator Romero added. “We need to make a stance.”
The resolution ends with a series of demands that would be in the interest of the students:
- Year over year on-campus housing price increases must be capped at or below recent trends.
- Housing and Residence life functions including, but not limited to, programming (Resident Advisers, Community Programmers, Office Managers), billing and room assignments should remain under full control of the University.
- An efficient and accessible appeals process controlled by EMU must exist to protect students from unfair monetary penalties.
- Student Government must have a representative on any potential RFP review committee.
- Students must have representation on any operations committees that are created to manage housing operations after the execution of any public-private partnership.
“I think that it is inevitable that [Eastern Michigan University] is going to have to collaborate with someone to get money to fix our housing,” Senator Alexa Cooley said. “We as a student government have to dictate the terms and be extremely vigilant on what we want Eastern to control … We want this to be successful.”
The resolution passed 13-0. The Student Senate will be passing this along to the administration to show its concern as a group and as the representatives of the student body.