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USG task force late with off-campus housing report

Lantern file photo

The Undergraduate Student Government’s Off-Campus Development Task Force, created to address problems in the off-campus community, is more than three weeks late in releasing the comprehensive report of its findings.
In a Nov. 29 Lantern article, task force leader and former USG President Nick Messenger said he planned to issue the report by Feb. 1, but the comprehensive report has yet to be published.
USG President Taylor Stepp said task force members decided to delay the report because of an “abnormally low response rate” from emails sent out to a random number of students.
The report has also been delayed due to a restructure of the strategy for the project to highlight areas of excellence, then focus on what to improve, said Celia Wright, a task force member and second-year in exploration. She said the change in strategy took place around the middle of January.
Stepp said USG has reached out to parents and prominent landlords in the area, who have been cooperative for the most part. However he said he is “really upset” about the low response rate from students.
Stepp said he was told the findings should be released in “about a week-and-a-half or so.”
The task force focused on deteriorating conditions of houses, rent issues, problems with landlords, lighting issues and pedestrian traffic safety.
When the report is released, “student development goals” will be created to address any off-campus problems, Stepp said in a Dec. 4 Lantern article.
Some students, like Ryan Glinn, a fourth-year in strategic communication, were unsure what to think of the delay.
“Are they going to be able to implement it and make it effective? That’s the trick, and what you’re seeing now is they’re late with their task force report already so that’s not a good start,” Glinn said.
Glinn said students, as well as landlords, need to do their part to keep housing conditions nice.
“It’s tough when you have different landlords in different areas, and then you have properties with six guys or six girls living in (them), and part of the responsibility is on us as students to take care of the property while we’re renting it,” Glinn said. “On the other hand, I think the landlords could do a little bit more as well.”
Others felt the task force will help future students down the road.
“I think it’s about taking it one step at a time and hopefully improving it for kids who go here in 10 years,” said Doug Rosenthal, a fourth-year in criminology and political science. “It’s not going to happen this year, it’s not going to happen next year, but if you make the effort now, year by year it will get better and better.”
Rosenthal said he has experienced problems with the physical condition of his house on 17th Avenue, such as issues with electrical wiring and said “it just looks like they haven’t remodeled it in about 50 years.”
However, he said he is glad steps are being taken to improve the off-campus area.
“In general, college housing is obviously lower quality,” Rosenthal said. “But I think it’s about time they look into it and start at least trying to improve stuff.”

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