Tenant Union to hold first meeting

By Matt Gilbert

Your landlord just won’t fix the door handle or anything else. He’s holding back your security deposit and forcing you to live in conditions even General Adid of Somalia would consider cruel.

If any of the above describes your current living situation, or you just want to get some advice about renting, leases and the law from experts, you might want to consider attending the first meeting of the Student Association’s Tenant Union this week.

The meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28 in the Heritage Room of the Holmes Student Center. Speakers will include Don Henderson, director of Students Legal Assistance, and DeKalb Aldermen Jordan Kagan and Brad Strauss. All fee-paying students are members of the Tenant Union, and are invited to attend the meeting.

According to the SA Community Affairs Adviser Eric Grice, who is charged with managing the Tenant Union and is organizing the meeting, Kagan and Strauss will discuss new city codes requiring landlords to repay interest on deposits collected before the tenant moved in.

The Tenant Union was pulled out of the proverbial grave earlier this semester by Grice. In the mid-1980s, it was a powerful student organization, protecting student’s interests in landlord-tenant disputes in conjunction with Students’ Legal Services. In 1989 it got bogged down in scandal and soon disappeared from the public record.

To insure the Tenant Union would remain alive after he had passed, Grice asked the SA senate to alter its bylaws to incorporate the duties of managing the Tenant Union permanently into the Community Affairs advisers’ position.

Grice said other topics would be covered at the meeting as well, including what to look for in a lease and how to document the condition of an apartment.

“Most students have never rented before. This is a way for them to protect themselves against any adverse apartment situation,” Grice said.

The SA also voted to confirm the appointment of a new senator at Sunday’s meeting. Jim Wilson is a 25-year-old transfer student in pre-law political science from Rock Valley College in Rockford, where he was president of student government and served on several advisory committees.

“I have a lot of free time,” Wilson said. “I don’t like to sit idle. I want to be a part of things that happen and decisions that are made.”

Wilson also said he supports the establishment of a multiculturalism class, but is “in limbo” as far as whether or not it should be mandatory.

Wilson said he took a class in multiculturalism at Rock Valley called “Humanities 115: Cultural Pluralism in America.” The class was not mandatory, Wilson said, but there were “strong incentives” to take the class, and the classes filled up to about 80 students per class. “Obviously something was being done right to give people the inducement to take the class without making them take it,” he said.

The next SA senate meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 31 in the Clara Sperling Skyroom of the student center. All students are invited to attend.