Un-soiling my reputation

A recent Minnesota Daily article mischaracterized my views on housing safety.

Taqee Khaled

Wednesday’s feature on the soil removal project at CSCC student housing is another great step in pushing for transparency and The Minnesota Daily is to be commended for its follow-up to the original piece from last fall 2009. Despite the length and depth of the piece, I found the simplicity with which my views were presented to be unfortunately shallow, depriving the Daily community of key insights. In support of my printed allegations of poor communication practices at CSCC, the Daily paraphrased my views to say that I believed “CSCC management may take advantage of the fact that so many of its residents are foreign and so have lower expectations.” After speaking with multiple reporters on multiple occasions, I am shocked that this is what was gleaned as the essentials of my viewpoint. I am also highly disappointed that not a single minority or international student was quoted in the article, leaving the readership to think that I represented this voice when, in fact, I am neither a minority nor an international student. To salvage my dignity and mitigate the ire of my international neighbors, allow me to clarify, please: The CSCC (and CTC) have been home to thousands upon thousands of international students over the years. They are, by and large, the cream of the academic crop from their respective communities of origin and enrich our university by leaps and bounds. When the University of Minnesota serves as a landlord to such a population, it is incumbent upon it, as an institution, to recognize that anything from cultural integration to school commitments can be markedly more time-consuming and challenging than to students born and raised here, such as myself. It follows, of course, that the last thing on the minds of such individuals is tenants rights, self-advocacy, and pushing for transparency. The University and CSCC, thus, have little pushback to make good on their onus as landlords other than what is convenient for them to honor and what is asked of them by tenants. This does not mean international students have lower expectations, only that their information regarding tenants rights is often incomplete and their restrictions to self-advocate are numerous. The CSCC has multiple units completely infested with mice and multiple units with incomplete fire insulation (both of these were issues that I, along with other residents, learned after moving in); and, of course, we continue to learn more about the soil. All this is occurring in what is probably one of the highest children per capita area in the Twin Cities. The aim of becoming a top three research university in the world is not merely tied to acquiring and retaining talented instructors and students, it is a holistic goal that is reflected off-campus, as much as it is reflected on-campus. Communication with the student body about environmental hazards should not be taken lightly nor slighted. When CSCC houses some of the very individuals the University needs to become a worldwide top three research institution, it is shameful to think that they should be uninformed about key facts affecting their personal lives. Taqee Khaled University faculty