LUCC discusses housing

Amanda Loder

This week’s LUCC meeting was largely a matter of “cleaning house” as the council discussed reapportionment and redistricting, the selection process for the new Hiett residence hall, and an LUCC election by-law. The most debated subject of the meeting was reapportionment and redistricting, especially as concerns the Lawrence students living off-campus. Currently, Colman and Brokaw halls are represented together by two members of LUCC. With the closing of Brokaw Hall next year, there is a concern that Colman residents will be over-represented in LUCC. Generally, the LUCC districts are created so that each representative on the council represents about 100 students.

In order to avoid the dilemma of over-representing Colman residents, Representative Peter Snyder presented a redistricting and reapportionment change that would combine Colman Hall and the students living off-campus under the same two LUCC representatives. Snyder cited the current over-representation of Lawerentians living off-campus (sixty-five students for one representative) and the fact that Colman is host to a lounge-area designated specifically for the use of off-campus Lawrentians as reasons for combining the two districts.

The most strenuous objections to this reapportionment and redistricting were from Representative Kass Kuehl, who represents the off-campus students. Kuehl cited two criteria for deciding LUCC representation: geography and protection of voice. She objected that there is “no geographic coherency” in Snyder’s plan, and that students living off-campus “have a unique set of interests that need to be protected.”

Kuehl also objected to the reapportionment on the grounds that it was discriminatory, as an off-campus student would not have a good chance of winning an LUCC election due to name recognition-the Colman residents, representing the majority of the proposed district, would almost be guaranteed to vote for a fellow Colman resident.

Representative Greg Hahnel responded with an example of another recent redistricting controversy, when the ORC, EARTH, and Co-Op houses were redistricted with Sage Hall. The objection was that the students living in small houses could not compete with Sage Hall residents for a seat on LUCC. Hahnel, a resident of the ORC House cited himself and his position on LUCC as a Sage/small house representative as proof of the invalidity of such an objection.

Part of the same issue, eliciting no objections, was the redistricting of Ormsby with the new Hiett hall and the reapportionment of three LUCC representatives for the district. Ultimately, LUCC did not vote on the reapportionment and redistricting, saving the issue for a later meeting.

Dean Truesdell announced housing procedure concerning Hiett Hall housing for this coming year. In the new hall, some quads will be available for four people wanting to live together, while some others will be held aside and split in half for doubles selection. This decision was made in part due to a desire to accommodate students who may lose a roommate due to studying abroad. For the first year Hiett Hall is available, squatting will not be allowed.

President Jaques Haquebord objected to the setting-aside of some rooms in Hiett, believing that students should be allowed to select from all of the rooms. Some LUCC representatives objected to splitting some of Hiett’s quads, believing that discomfort or even conflict could arise should complete strangers or enemies find themselves sharing a living space. Truesdell responded that quads consisted of “separate rooms with doors that lock” and that the living situation would be similar to that of two enemies living next door to each other in the standard double rooms.

LUCC also discussed a proposed by-law change. While including the pending redistricting and reapportioning as proposed by Representative Snyder, it also includes an important change concerning whether an LUCC representative can maintain their seat after having moved from their district. Under the previous by-law, the representative, with permission of their Hall Council or similar body, could keep their seat on LUCC as a representative for that district. Under the new by-law, should an LUCC representative move from their district, they will not be allowed to keep their seat and special elections must be held for the district in question. LUCC voted unanimously in support of the by-law change.