Housing and student-athletes try to find middle ground

Issues bounced between Housing representatives and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee at a meeting for the two groups at 6:20 p.m. on March 12. SAAC decided it was time to voice its concerns with on-campus housing.

SAAC members, along with Oakland University Student Congress President Zack Thomas, Director of Athletics Jeff Konya and Residence Director of University Apartments Anthony Webster, discussed the students’ grievances.

Like many residents who live in the on-campus apartments, SAAC had qualms with policies that are, in its opinion, too similar to those of the dorms.

For example, the dorms and apartments share the same quiet hours and guest policies.

Student representatives said the policies should be more lenient in the apartments, as students have to be 20 years of age and of junior standing to live in them.

Other SAAC members said Housing policies such as courtesy hours and the presence of resident assistants in the apartments discourage students from having fun and experiencing college to the fullest. Participants also pointed out that the Greek cottages don’t have some of those restrictions. For example, the Greek cottages do not have RAs.

When student-athletes live on campus, scholarship money stays in the university. So, the student-athletes believe it would be in the campus community’s best interest if the voice of student-athletes is heard on some of these issues.

“This has been a concern for student-athletes for a long time,” said Breann Reveley, president of SAAC. “We don’t want a solution for this to be us living off campus. That would take away from the Oakland University culture.”

Webster answered most questions the same way: The rules are in place not to frustrate students, but to keep freedom from being abused. Toward the end of the meeting, he offered to work with SAAC to bring their concerns and potential solutions to his superiors in Housing.

“I wanted to see what their concerns were and what we in Housing can do to address those issues and concerns,” Webster said.

Konya also suggested that SAAC work with other residents to present solutions to Housing, as opposed to just talking about its problems. Ideas such as petitions and meetings with Director of Housing James Zentmeyer were further discussed after the meeting.

Thomas and other student representatives suggested Housing include student-athletes and other residents in the annual review of the University Housing Student Handbook, which outlines many of the policies SAAC had issues with.

“I’ve been a long-time proponent of relaxing some of the polices that are a little more strict,” Thomas said. “I want to support more freedom of choice.”

After the meeting, SAAC planned to brainstorm solutions and schedule meetings with Housing before the school year runs out.

The graduating seniors encouraged the underclassman to address what they saw as problems during their time at OU, so future students have a more positive experience.

“Student-athletes want to do everything in our power to keep people on campus,” Reveley said. “We want people to enjoy the campus life and be proud to wear the bear.”