The majority of the predicaments outlined in the April 13th article, “Stressful Signup for Housing,” can be ameliorated by digging a little deeper into the reasons for the University’s approach. First, the “S.T.R.I.V.E” program was not put together by the Department of Residence Halls; it is a project of the faculty and the Volunteer Services Center approved by upper-level administration. Once the spaces for worthwhile special interest housing have been allotted, Housing merely complies with the designation. As for the damaged buildings, the university’s master plan calls for their future demolition for a different project.
Regarding the situation of the displaced senior living in the apartments, she was fairly given a chance to signup for housing a day earlier than anyone else, but it does not make sense to make that same offer to her friends who were not displaced. What she could have done was wait for their regular sign-up time the next day and search together. Additionally, no student that cannot find an available suite is being “forced” into the University Village. That project is run by an independent leasing agency and is glorified off-campus housing. Students voluntarily pay a steep price since it is now the most convenient option outside of the residence halls.
Contrary to the price, one benefit of the University Village is it will eliminate the usual spill-over housing at the Holiday Inn. The article failed to mention that students no longer live in the hotel and have not since December.
As for the unhappy freshmen, signup times are based on when students first pay their housing deposit when accepted into UM. Freshman who enrolled late in the summer have a later priority on campus and cannot expect to find two connected rooms at Mahoney/Pearson to still be available. Housing is allotted by seniority and correctly so.
The Department of Residence Halls provides an innovative online sign-up, and in the summer months it processes room change request forms available to unsatisfied students. Anyone averse to living in a “prison cell” can fill out the form or default on their optional housing contract.
THE LAST STRAW FOR SEIU
So there I was, off to work like I do every Monday through Thursday, when I saw paramedics and fire engines in Stanford Circle. So, I asked myself: What could be going on? Then, someone gives me a piece of paper telling me what was going. It said Tanya Aquino, on strike for nine days (and three weeks away from graduating) has refused to go to the hospital until Donna Shalala agrees to meet with her (or something like that.) For the record, I love Tanya; I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for her. She is very intelligent and rational. Which leads to the question: How can an intelligent and rational person do something dumb and irrational?
And I answer: SEIU. SEIU has done nothing but cause trouble since they got here. Where is SEIU when Tanya is sitting in a wheelchair? Watching, and I bet smiling from the inside. They are not the ones who are putting themselves at risk.
SEIU is totally behind this hunger strike; they saw what our fellow students did when they got all contract workers a higher wage. So, they probably thought to themselves: Let’s run with this and see where it goes. And they did. What people involved in this situation don’t realize or just refuse to see is that SEIU is business; all unions are. In some instances they are just as bad as the corporations themselves. I do not know the history of SEIU, but let’s take a quick look back on what they have done the past few weeks. They brought in people to protest on this campus last week. Someone told me it was only three people. Well, if that’s the case, it is still wrong, because whether it’s one, three, or one hundred, it is still the same thing; they bring in mercenaries. Mercenaries are only permitted in war and politics.
They also supported a 14-hour sit-in at the admissions office a few weeks ago. And finally, the thing that has gotten me really angry with them: They have allowed my fellow students and some workers to endanger their health. If this is the way they do business then maybe some of the allegations made by UNICCO and UM are true. All SEIU had to say to these students and workers is, “Don’t worry about; we’ll handle this”, but instead I believe they told them: “Don’t worry, we do this all the time.” I have stayed silent out of respect for people like Tanya.
However, what happened on Tuesday was the final straw. I can no longer keep quiet and watch my friends endanger themselves.
Eaton Residential College Senator
Dear protesting students and UNICCO workers,
I respect what you are trying to change. However, when you protest right outside the Ashe building, you are also protesting right outside the admissions office. Is your goal to discourage students from coming here by scaring parents, administrators and anyone else who happens to be unfortunate enough to be in the area?
Miami is a great school and each of you knows this because you chose to come here. Maybe you could work on respecting the school enough to get your point across without frightening high school students and their families. The university will begin to respect you a little bit more in return.
WHAT’S OUR OFFICIAL LANGUAGE?
Re: Mike Levine’s letter to the editor (“If you want to get the University community to take note of your cause, write more signs in English. …You’re in America and the official language is English.”)
Unfortunately, the guy who wrote this was not smart enough to know that:
a. The U.S. is not the only country within the Americas, and
b. The U.S. has no official language
Considering he is a senior, perhaps he ought to stay in college a few more years until he learns these facts.
The Rev. Christina D. Encinosa
Graduating Class: B.A., Class of 1999