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UVM ignores Converse residential concerns

Genevieve Winn

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If you have a car on campus, you must know how convenient it is that UVM provides parking lots for each dorm, especially given the hefty price students are made to pay for them.

If you live in Converse, however, you are granted no such luxury. In fact, Converse students have been suffering all year from a myriad of problems UVM has not only caused, but refuses to acknowledge.

This past winter, the main walkways of the dorm were not shoveled, not even when Burlington boasted over two feet of snow. Instead, students had to plow their way through mounds of the freezing stuff, resulting in wet socks and bad moods.

Most dorms have a trash disposal area on each floor to keep rooms and communities tidy and comfortable. Converse residents must trek all the way to the basement, often to find the trashcans and recycling bins overflowing.

There is also a room containing an asbestos hazard that in the past has been left open for days at a time, which is a health and safety concern for many of Converse’s residents.

For all these issues, there are only three residential advisers to hear and address concerns.

As for the parking issue, Converse students pay over $300 — the same price that all students pay — for a parking lot that does not exist. Parking services and UVM decided Converse students must walk from either Gutterson Parking Garage or Trinity Campus to get home.

This is a 10 to 15 minute walk depending on traffic and conditions. Imagine this walk with arms full of groceries or suitcases if one is traveling home for a break or a weekend.

Converse residents are not allowed to park in the Given Lot, because the University claims there is not enough space. The people who clean the building, as well as our residence director, are allowed to park in this lot.

When asked about this situation UVM parking services said it could not give a discount to Converse students because it “needs to stay on budget,” and “all parking spaces are worth the same amount of money.”

The latter is very clearly a lie, when students who park in Gutterson pay $115 for day and evening passes, and Gutterson has free parking for anyone during the day.

If UVM tries to claim they charge Converse residents over $200 just for overnight parking, they are admitting to robbing students.

Typically, when the standard service from a company cannot be offered, the customer receives a discount. UVM parking services clearly does not understand this concept.

Converse students were lied to about why they were not allowed to have a parking lot.

UVM claimed construction workers using the space, though all they did was store a small amount of materials there that could have easily been put somewhere else.

In addition, the lot was transformed into an emergency docking bay for the hospital the second semester of this year.

UVM and parking services have ignored our questions on this matter. As for parking services needing to stay on budget, this is not the responsibility of the students in any way.

Many Converse residents did not choose to live in this dorm. We were forced in, due to random housing or a bad lottery number — a system entirely flawed in itself.

We are grateful that UVM gave students living in Converse a discount on housing due to loud construction. Yet, we cannot sit back while other injustices are thrust upon us.

Several people have emailed President Tom Sullivan, parking services and myriad of other members of the University staff. They haven’t received any responses. Not only are we being ignored, but we are being downright neglected.

UVM pretends to foster equality among students, a successful academic environment, mental health and happiness, but when the University is standing in the way of these things, it chooses to ignore the problem, and let students suffer on its behalf.

2 Comments

2 Responses to “UVM ignores Converse residential concerns”

  1. Jennifer Nigro on May 5th, 2017 9:35 am

    I’m the President of Converse’s Hall Council, and I can say for certain that almost every issue discussed in this article is completely false. It paints our community in a bad light and it is irresponsible to make these claims without fact checking them.

    [Reply]

    Emily Pareles Reply:

    As a Converse resident who has experienced first-hand the injustices described in the article, I can say that every grievance is, in fact, true. We are extremely isolated and ignored by UVM (as seen through refusal to shovel the sidewalks, ignoring our emails, asbestos hazards, etc.). This article is much needed and does a FANTASTIC job of highlighting our concerns. I’m proud of my fellow Converse resident for finally taking a stand and speaking out against the treatment we’ve endured for the past year and I wish I had her courage. As President, I would think that you would acknowledge the concerns of the people who elected you and not immediately dismiss them as wrong. I’d like to point out that no where in this article did the writer attack the people living in Converse – just the administration of UVM and parking services. Our community is great – we have courageous residents who want to take a stand and not sit quietly in the face of injustice. I strongly disagree that this “paints our community in a bad light” and don’t know why you say that an article exposing administrative injustices makes the residents look bad. I don’t want to be a part of a community that squanders opinions, prides itself in monotone homogenization, and ignores real grievances of its members. This article is not only accurate, but necessary, and I support it one hundred percent.

    [Reply]

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