Letter to the Editor: Officials need to discuss University Village

The apartments should be renovated or demolished.

"University officials have a moral responsibility to take action on University Village Apartments"

Columbia lost a true hero on the morning of Feb. 22, 2014, when a walkway collapsed at University Village Apartments, killing a City of Columbia Firefighter. Lt. Bruce Britt, the fatally injured firefighter, was responding to the structural emergency that had developed early that morning. It has been a heartbreaking tragedy to lose of one of Columbia’s many civil servants who put their lives on the line every day to ensure the safety of our community.

University Village Apartments primarily serves low-income graduate students with small children, one of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged portions of the MU student body. The buildings that constitute the apartment complex were first built in the 1950s and were only built to last “25 to 30 years,” according to Director of the Residential Life Frankie Minor in 2009. The Maneater has diligently reported these facts and deserves recognition for their coverage of this story.

I believe the most appropriate way to honor the life of Lt. Britt is to advocate for change that could prevent a similar tragedy from happening again in the future. More specifically, there needs to be a serious discussion about the structural safety of the buildings in University Village. I am calling on University officials to have that conversation, which I believe should result in the decision to either fully renovate or demolish the apartments. It’s not only bad policy to encourage students with families to occupy residential buildings that are structurally unsafe, it’s morally irresponsible.

Residential Life is obligated to ensure the safety of every individual who occupies their facilities. As long as University Village remains in its current state, they will continually fall short of fulfilling that obligation.

The university needs to act now. Not just for the sake of our fallen hero, but for every student, parent and child whose lives may be endangered by remaining in their University Village homes.

Garrett Poorman,

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