GAPSA to talk about grad housing

GAPSA also will discuss the possible ordinance concerning “unruly” parties.

JP Leider

This semester’s final Graduate and Professional Student Assembly meeting will address housing and livability issues for graduate and professional students at the University.

GAPSA members will discuss options for future on-campus graduate and professional student housing, as well as a proposed Minneapolis ordinance that would seek to quell noisy or “unruly” gatherings.

GAPSA Executive Vice President Taqee Khaled said that during the University’s realignment is the time to address graduate and professional student housing issues.

“Housing can be a very critical issue when it comes to the culture of graduate and professional students,” he said. “If you’ve got people doing research in various areas and they have interdisciplinary contacts in a living environment, that can do a lot to enrich what everyone is getting out of the graduate and professional students.”

Khaled said the undergraduate nature of the University likely has caused graduate and professional student housing to become a secondary concern.

GAPSA has continually brought this concern to the administration, so it’s been “on their radar,” he said.

Housing Director Laurie McLaughlin said her office has been looking into graduate student housing issues over the past several years, especially in the area of affordability.

While the University does offer married couple housing, she said it doesn’t meet current graduate-student needs.

In the Office of Housing and Residential Life, two committees are looking into graduate housing issues, she said. Both will review a graduate and professional student housing survey that was conducted in late November.

McLaughlin said she recognizes the role housing plays in attracting top-quality graduate and professional students.

“We certainly understand and realize that in order to attract graduate students to the University that housing is one of the issues,” she said.

Noisy and “unruly’

At today’s meeting, GAPSA will consider whether to support an ordinance dealing with noisy and “unruly” gatherings, proposed by 2nd Ward City Council member Paul Zerby, who represents the Minneapolis campus and surrounding area.

After meeting with members of student government last week, Zerby altered the proposed resolution to deal with student concerns, said resolution author Amy Thornton, who is the GAPSA vice president for public affairs.

“It’s not an us-against-them issue, but there were implications of the ordinance that definitely could have been excessively harmful to students,” she said.

Now that Zerby has changed the ordinance to remove the placarding of offending properties, Thornton said, she’s recommending GAPSA support it.

Zerby said he would be pleased with GAPSA’s support.

“Win, lose or draw on getting this passed (through the City Council), it’s a terrific win for the students and the neighborhood and the city that GAPSA is stepping up onto the plate on this thing,” Zerby said.

He said several obstacles still exist in getting the ordinance passed, including opposition from landlords.

“We have met substantively every one of the concerns they’ve raised, but they continue to object to it,” he said. “My only take can be that they (are trying to) delay it and hope it goes away.”

“I’m hoping to at least give it to the council for an up-or-down vote.”