By Megan Hansen/Around&About editor
Brockton family housing resident Robert D’Angelo has wanted a say in what goes on in the Residence Life Council and the university community as a whole since he moved from Brockton efficiency apartments to Brockton family housing last semester. D’Angelo was elected to represent Brockton efficiency apartments in RLC, and when he was given the opportunity to move to Brockton family housing he couldn’t pass it up. He didn’t know his move would cost him his spot as an RLC representative.
“I wanted to give the residents of Brockton family housing a voice,” D’Angelo said.
D’Angelo couldn’t represent Brockton family housing because Brockton family housing was not written into RLC’s bylaws. He then wrote a resolution to try to get family housing included in RLC’s bylaws and to get a representative on the council.
D’Angelo said the proposed resolution to make Brockton family housing a part of RLC was a means to get Brockton family housing recognized.
D’Angelo wants Brockton family housing to receive the benefits other on-campus students receives.
“We pay year-round and don’t get any of the benefits,” D’Angelo said.
Despite D’Angelo’s efforts, RLC decided not to pass the resolution.
“The council decided they didn’t want Brockton family housing included,” said C.E. Huffman, vice president of residence life, who leads RLC meetings.
Brockton family housing is not part of the Office of Housing like residence halls and Brockton efficiency apartments. Brockton family housing is part of Facility Services.
“Facility Services is the middle man. We go to them to pay rent and sign papers,” D’Angelo said. “They make sure the place is acceptable and don’t do anything else.”
Brockton family housing has been a part of Facility Services for “many many years” said Kenna Middleton, director of housing.
“I have been in housing for over 10 years, and it’s been like that since I’ve been here,” she said.
The Office of Housing gives RLC $1.75 for every person who lives in the residence halls and Brockton efficiency apartments, but not for those living in Brockton family housing. The money RLC receives from the Office of Housing goes to fund programs and hall councils, Huffman said.
“RLC does not get any money for the people that live in Brockton family housing,” Huffman said.
Chris Thomason is the resident assistant representative on RLC. Thomason voted against the resolution to make Brockton family housing part of RLC.
“I felt there is truly not an interest,” Thomason said. “Since Brockton family housing does not pay a fee, they would get programs for nothing.”
Thomason also believes the residents of Brockton family housing have different needs and concerns.
“They have families,” Thomason said.
Samantha Sapp is a Case Hall representative on RLC. She also voted against the resolution.
“Since they don’t pay a fee, it wouldn’t be fair,” Sapp said. “I think they need to be represented but not in the constitution.”
Sapp believes there is little interest from Brockton family housing residents.
“I feel (RLC is) making uninformed decisions,” Huffman said. “They made the assumption that Robert D’Angelo was the only one that wanted to be a part of RLC.”
“The resolution was put on the floor without any notification of anyone involved,” D’Angelo said.
Huffman believes there is a need for Brockton family housing to be represented.
“It saddened me because we are pushing people out,” Huffman said. “I sort of disagree with this, but I don’t get a vote.”
Huffman does not vote on matters before RLC. Since he is the body’s vice president, he only votes in case of a tie.
“Brockton family housing needs some sort of representation, but RLC might not be the place,” Middleton said.
Middleton thinks the programmatic needs of Brockton family housing need to be researched.
“They have different needs,” Middleton said.
RLC represents over 5,000 undergraduate students, mainly traditional, who are under the age of 21, Middleton said. RLC gears their programs to the traditional residence hall student.
This doesn’t mean RLC and Brockton family housing could not work together, Middleton said.
“Their focus may not be the same,” Middleton said. “Maybe we can go back to the drawing board for Brockton family housing.”
Since RLC voted not to include Brockton family housing in the council, D’Angelo is looking at other efforts to improve Brockton family housing.
“After reviewing everything it would be more advantageous for Brockton family housing to start our own committee,” D’Angelo said.
D’Angelo believes it shouldn’t be the students’ responsibility to try to get Brockton family housing represented in RLC.
“It should start with the administration,” D’Angelo said.
Eastern needs to look at what will benefit the residents of Brockton family housing and develop programs that will benefit Brockton family housing and help enhance retention, D’Angelo said.
“Academicwise we don’t get anything that other on-campus students get,” D’Angelo said.
Huffman is hoping to set up a residence life fee for all students living on campus.
“This would direct money from Brockton family housing,” Huffman said. “It will bring money in Brockton family housing.”
D’Angelo is trying to set up an open forum with Brockton family housing residents and university administrations.
“The university administration needs to be more pro-active with what will be good for Brockton family housing,” D’Angelo said.
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