Put below money

For those of you who have never been subjected to the process, (of being released fom a housing contract) you have missed a beautiful, interpersonal experience with a winning set of insensitive people.

Ater you have completed your housing contract release form, chaos grows. I received a letter saying that my request for release was denied. The housing office people said I did not demonstrate “exceptional cause.” What in the living daylights is “exceptional cause”? I tried to ask Dr. Felver, the assistant housing director. I was told by his staff he does not field questions concerning requests denials, even though his letter said he would.

A student who is denied by the housing people can appeal their case within four days of receiving their denial letter. I received my denial letter the day before the four and one half day Thanksgiving break. Nice timing. I ran around on the Wednesday prior to turkey day writing letters to the appeals committee.

On Monday after break the appeals people set up an appointment for Dec. 2. The meeting began over twenty minutes late. I explained my situation. I am a TA for the communication department and ony receive a small stipend, which is just enough to live on. I told the appeals committee I do not have the $1,200 dorm fee due to my income and out-going bills. Their loving and caring response was: GET A LOAN.

O.K., I, a financially struggling grad student with $6,000 in outstanding loans, am to waltz out and secure a loan just to pay the university because they do not have enough bodies to fill thier rooms. How nice. I have never been placed below money before. Not only did the appeals committee offer the cold-hearted response of getting a loan, they never defined the “exceptional cause” question. Why not just say what “exceptional cause” is. OOOPS. Can’t do that. After all, students might take their examples and use them to get out of their contracts.

I am writing not to complain about the outcome of my release request adventure but to point out how dehumanizing and frustrating the release request process is. I hope the university will take steps to secure a more sensitive and humane process for the student. We cannot place monetary gains above students, who are human beings after all is said and done. I know the university is in dire need of funds and it is difficult to just let students and their money come and go as they please. Can’t the request process be a little more informative, interpersonal and caring about the students’ situations?

Bob Zima

graduate TA

communication-media studies