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Saturday, October 25, 2014

MSA seeks renovations to University Village, Lafferre Hall

An amendment was added to the resolution to include a review by GPC.

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Building 707 sits vacant, without a balcony, March 1, 2014, at University Village. The Missouri Students Association recently passed legislation urging the university to either repair demolish the complex.

Tim Tai/Senior Staff Photographer

March 6, 2014

The Missouri Students Association Senate passed a resolution in response to the collapse at University Village that left a Columbia fireman dead.

Resolution 53-24, authored by Tigers Against Partisan Politics co-president Garrett Poorman, requests MU administrators and the Department of Residential Life to “investigate the full renovation or demolition of the University Village apartments.”

The Senate passed the resolution unanimously at its Feb. 26 session.

Poorman hopes the passage of the resolution will garner more attention to the issues at University Village and students who are advocating for change.

“MSA has a lot of influence on this campus, and I’m hoping that (the resolution) will catch someone in the university in the eye and make them see that students really want this issue addressed,” he said.

Budget Committee chairwoman Shelby Catalano made an amendment to the resolution to include a review by the Graduate Professional Council, since University Village mainly houses graduate students.

GPC President Jacob Wright said, while he was satisfied with the resolution passed by MSA, he plans to introduce a separate resolution before the GPC General Assembly. Instead of calling for the renovation or demolition of University Village, the GPC resolution will call for the renovation or replacement of University Village.

“Merely demolishing the complex would potentially displace those who live there,” Wright said in an email. “If the university were to demolish the complex, it would reduce the number of housing options for graduate and professional students. (GPC feels) the solution must not reduce these options for our constituents.”

Poorman added that while he is pleased with the passage of the MSA resolution and support he received from association, there is still more to be done before the issue is addressed.

“The resolution is symbolic and not a practical solution,” he said. “Getting that passed is only moving the ball 20 yards, and we still have 80 yards to go. There is still a lot to do and we have to make sure that energy stays on this issue.”

MSA President Mason Schara said the collapse at University Village has also brought to attention the need to improve infrastructure throughout MU.

During Engineering Week, Schara plans to lobby the Missouri Legislature for additional funding to renovate Lafferre Hall. The building scored a 0.91 on the Facilities Conditions Needs Index, meaning that 91 percent of its systems need to be replaced.

“The engineering students (are) going to be fighting for Lafferre, and I will be fighting for both (Lafferre) and other buildings as well,” Schara said. “But right now, there is not any (building) I am specifically advocating for, other than Lafferre. We are going because there is a bill going through the state Capitol right now that talks about funds for Lafferre Hall.”

Schara said he is also interested but unsure about advocating for funds to renovate University Village and will consult with MSA Legislative Coordinator Camille Hosman and Ben Levin, president of the Associated Students at the University of Missouri, leading up to his trip to Jefferson City.

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