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Students moving out on April 27 will have nowhere to go for four days. Photo: CC, Jean Gagnon.

Students, members of SFUO set to meet with Housing Service to discuss options

Students have come together to create a petition in response to the University of Ottawa’s residence move out date of April 27.

The petition, spearheaded by Lucie Atangana, a first-year political science student at the U of O and resident of the Henderson building, calls for the move out date to be pushed back to May 1.

“We realized that the resident contract states that we have to move out by April 27, even though our lease, as do most leases in the Ottawa region, and in Ontario start on May 1,” Atangana explained. Students living in all residences with the exception of Hyman Soloway and Brooks are also forced to leave during the winter break, for up to 12 days.

According to Atangana, students are given the option to rent a room in 90 University Private for the days that they would be displaced, at $40 per night.

“Automatically, I thought that was outrageous, because as residents, we signed on for 8 months … and we paid for the whole month of April, but aren’t allowed to stay,” she said.

Atangana created the petition in February after venting her frustration with her floormates. She initially shared it in her residence Facebook group, and garnered support from students living in other residences, getting over 1,000 signatures in 12 hours.

Shortly after, she emailed the U of O’s Housing Service with the signatures, but did not get a response.

“Historically the U of O has a really bad track record with not helping students out, but just responding to questions or demands,” she said.“Is the U of O prioritizing their students’ well being or monetary incentives or profits?”

Atangana’s biggest concern is that Housing Service hasn’t given its residents a reason for the early move-out date.

“If you want me to move out and you have clear reasons … that’s fine,” she said. However, as it currently stands, Atangana explained, “we have to leave, but we don’t know why.”

After hearing back from the Housing Service in March, claiming that her concerns are being reviewed, Atangana reached out to members of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO).

Paige Booth, incoming vice-president external of the SFUO, helped Atangana create a new petition, which asked students for their residence information and student numbers and shared the petition on her social media.

According to Atangana, SFUO vice-president finance, and incoming president, Rizki Rachiq also supports the petition, and requested a meeting with Housing Services within the next week for Atagana and Booth to express their concerns.

In 10 hours the new petition got 400 signatures, which Atangana said she will bring with her to the meeting along with printed messages she received on social media supporting the petition, emails, and the original petition with 1400 signatures.

Atangana has high hopes for the outcome of the petition, due to a loophole in the current resident contract which says she has 24 hours after her last exam to move out.

However, Atangana also recognizes that the deadline is close. “Even if we can’t get it changed for us, if we get it changed for next year that’s important,” she said. “It’s our duty to fight for the education system that we want.”

“We already pay a lot for our tuition, $40 a night to move into a residence, just to move out four days later … they don’t need that money, it would make a lot more sense for them to support their students.”

The U of O’s Housing Service did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.