Letters

As any student knows, the last thing we need is to lose money. I’m not talking about tuition, student loans, fees, the cost of books, and everything else; but keep that in mind when you find out that some students will lose $3,000 on top of all this.

First thing to do is, imagine you’ve been accepted to the University of Ottawa. You’re a grade 12 student, trying to finish high school, pay tuition for first term, take out loans, pick courses, and get ready for a new life. One thing that makes it easier is that the university has a Housing Service. A simple, reasonable, inexpensive, and fair way to get housing. Or so we thought.

You live in Timmons, or Windsor, Quebec City, or Thunder Bay so you can’t even think about flying down to check out off-campus apartments. Besides, Housing Service should be able to provide you with what you need without costing you too much. Yet another misconception. You apply to Marchand and Stanton. You know you’re not going to be in town for summer, so you want an eight month lease.

But eventually you get an offer for housing, and the only option you get is Brooks or Hyman Soloway: A more expensive place, with no option for an eight month lease. You still can’t spend the time and money to go find off-campus housing, so you think, “No problem, I’ll sublet it out, and lose no money.” But, you are wrong. You will try to find a summer student to sublet and cover the entire $3,000 fee, but you will not find them. You will settle for $500 per month, or $400, or maybe even $300. You might find no one at all. You didn’t choose this, yet you’re going to lose hundreds of dollars, maybe thousands.

Even if you wanted Brooks or Hyman Soloway, did the Housing Service say this would happen? No. One student said, “The university made it seem like it was extremely easy to find someone to sublet for the full amount.” Yet it’s impossible. Ask anyone that has ever lived in Brooks or Hyman Soloway. Why is there no option for an eight month lease in these buildings? Why were residents never told it would be so hard to find a sublet before they applied for or accepted a room in Brooks or Hyman Soloway? Where is the fair warning?

Why are residents, that wanted Stanton or Marchand, forced to live in a place where they will lose hundreds of dollars? Is it not the goal of Housing Service to provide the best experience for students, and not exploit them? If you agree this needs to be changed, go to ipetitions.com and look for the petition properly entitled ‘Uottawa, don’t let students lose $3,000!’ Housing Service overall does a good job, but there is no reason to force students to lose so much money. Let them know this needs to change.

—Matthew Jollineau