SGA makes resolution to change housing assignments

Last Wednesday, the Student Government Association (SGA) approved a resolution calling on the office of Residence Assignments to make Eickhoff, New Residence and all Townhouses available first to upperclassmen, as they had been in the past.

The resolution, sponsored by Brian Mulvihill, senator of business, Chris Kuhn, senator of culture and society and Dan Della Cerra, senator at large, was introduced in response to indications that construction problems would cause the new Pennington Road apartments to be delayed.

According to Kuhn, problems with the apartments would delay their opening by one full semester. During the down time between the beginning of the fall semester and the completion of the apartments, students who sign up to live in the apartments would be housed in Norsworthy and Centennial. However, recent developments mean that the time spent in these alternate dorms will be longer than previously anticipated.

The sponsoring senators asked that the bylaws of SGA be suspended so that the resolution could be voted on at the meeting. Typically, a resolution must spend a week in “old business” before it can be voted on. By a voice vote, the rules were suspended.

SGA hopes to communicate, as the resolution reads, “our belief that Eickhoff, New Residence Hall, and all Townhouses should be made available to juniors and seniors as they have been in the past.”

Debate on the resolution was extensive, and seemed to largely fracture along class lines. Upperclassmen believed that they should have preference to, in the words of the resolution, “premium housing,” before underclassmen, and underclassmen objected to a sudden change in the proposed housing assignments.

“We’ve known their plans for housing for a long time,” Daria Silvestro, sophomore senator of education, said. She added that it seemed too late now for upperclassmen to object to the assignments.

Mulvihill proposed that underclassmen be housed in Norsworthy and upperclassmen in Townhouses West and New Residence. Once the apartments were complete, upperclassmen would move into the apartments, and underclassmen would move into New Residence and Townhouses West.

Lauren LeBano, vice president of Academic Affairs, raised the objection that changing current assignments would be impractical. Residence Life had all ready hired additional housing assistants (HAs) for the influx of underclassmen residents to Townhouses West. Upperclassmen, she said, would not prefer the additional staff.

“Housing for upperclassmen is a privilege,” Kiren Sahni, freshman class president, said, defending the current proposal for residence assignments.

But Laureen Biruk, senator of art, media and music, proposed that students will choose to sign up for the apartments with the understanding that they may have to live in Norsworthy for part of the year. So, she proposed, all students should be permitted to sign up for the apartments – upper and underclassmen, while upperclassmen will be permitted to choose other locations if they are not happy with the idea of moving mid-year.

But a small minority of senators urged SGA to spend more time on the issue. In the final vote, the resolution passed 17-16-4, and will be forwarded to Residence Life for its consideration.

In other business, SGA approved both the Poker and Surfing clubs by unanimous votes.

Lauren LeBano announced that Stefanie Nieves was appointed to the Traffic Appeals Board to fill an empty SGA seat on that body.