Student leaders blast University housing mandate, call for more input

The Savoy, a popular and less expensive off-campus apartment building, is located just off Washington Circle. Hatchet File Photo

The Student Association Senate’s second-in-command accused the University of leaving him and other student leaders out of its decision to house all juniors on campus.

Senate President Pro Tempore Daniel Egel-Weiss said the University’s mandate for juniors to live on campus is a financial burden for many students because of GW’s costly residence halls and meal plans.

The decision was announced Monday and will impact the Class of 2018.

“The administration should know better than to change student life policy without actually consulting students,” Egel-Weiss said.

He plans to write a bill pushing the University’s tight-lipped administration to involve students in policy changes. He said administrators should reach out to students beyond SA President Julia Susuni, Executive Vice President Kostas Skordalos and Residence Hall Association President Kyle Webb before announcing changes.

Sen. Omeed Firouzi, U-At-Large, said he will support Egel-Weiss’s bill when it reaches the senate in August.

“Dan and I represent all GW undergrads and we realize that a lot have an issue with this,”¬†Firouzi said.

He said he wants a compromises with GW, such as allowing students who receive financial aid to move off-campus for their junior year. Though University officials argued that a third year of on-campus living would stimulate more community on campus, Firouzi said most off-campus options are just blocks from GW residence halls.

Egel-Weiss said he will also meet with Senior Associate Provost Peter Konwerski and Center for Student Engagement director Tim Miller to discuss the policy before classes begin.

Susuni, who learned about the change a few weeks ago, said she supported the change because the affinity housing model would improve GW’s community feel. She added that students can still offer input as the policy is implemented over the next several years.

“The policy has already been decided on. But I think there are a lot of things the administration is going to work on,” she said, including affordability.

She said she stressed to administrators that the University would need to solicit student input as it implements the policy and that students who spend time abroad should have that time count towards the three-year requirement.

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