Lawyers, leases, and landlords: USA looks to safeguard students

By Justin Smith
Assistant News Editor

Back in September, Undergraduate Student Association Executive Vice President Elias Ayoub talked to The Griffin about specific projects he wanted to see Senate accomplish during his tenure. Of those projects, some of the most ambitious fell under that authority of the Student Services Committee. Now, one month and one new chair later, The Griffin decided to check back with Student Services Committee to see what progress, if any, has been made on their agenda.

Following Darby Ratliff’s appointment to Vice President of Student Organizations, Amelia Greenan found herself in the current VPSO’s former position as Chair of the Student  Services Committee.

“I think Darby did an amazing job starting up the committee,” said Greenan. “I hope to carry out her ideas and initiatives as well as she would have.”

Greenan explained that despite several weeks delay in appointing the committee’s leadership, the SSC is ready to “get the ball rolling.” However, this represents a setback in the original timetable for the Committee. In his 15 Sept. interview with The Griffin, Ayoub gave a two-week timetable for completing certain initiatives for this committee. Among those  provide for students who are leasing houses.”

One consideration for the committee is how their role fits in with the role of administration. In this vein, Greenan has been working with Matt Mulville.

“It is very important to us to keep clear lines of communication open with administration,” said Greenan, who later added, “he has offered helpful advice and positive feedback. If the administration has any problems with the Committee in the future, I trust that he will let me know.”

Mulville confirmed that he had in fact met with Greenan, and discussed some of their conversation.

“[We talked about] assisting students that live in private houses around campus,” said Mulville.  “This would include educating students on their right as tenants, signing leases, how to deal with a landlord that doesn’t respond to repairs, identifying who owns the houses, etc.”

As of now, the committee is objectively behind their initial schedule, but they are still making progress on their initiatives.

“We are gathering information now,” said Greenan, “meeting with administration, making connections with other schools, and expanding the vision of the committee while we adjust to the new committee additions.”

Greenan didn’t offer any specifics on the legal counseling initiative in the same way that she did on the leasing initiative. She did say, however, to expect the committee to begin producing tangible results “soon.”

Greenan wants to pick-up where Ratliff left off, but also expand the Committee’s role in conjunction with the desires of other committee members. Although the committee has lagged behind Ayoub’s initial timetable, the sudden change in leadership has provided legitimate reasons for this. However, seeing as how Ayoub has set such ambitious goals for this Committee, it is important that it does in fact begin making solid progress soon if there is any hope for these plans to be realized prior to the spring’s election period.

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