Editorial

    A walkout scheduled for Thurgood Marshall College’s Dimensions of Culture classes was averted Friday due to a compromise between Marshall Dean of Student Affairs Ashanti Houston-Hands and Marshall students who were angered over what they deemed to be unfair housing practices.

    Marshall students claiming that their Residential Life Office was conspiring to unlawfully terminate housing contracts stood by their convictions and acted out against what they thought to be injustice on an otherwise largely apathetic college campus. The Guardian applauds Marshall students for taking a stand in a manner that garnered quick and effective results from their college’s administration. However, it is clear that Marshall students misrepresented their case to sensationalize the matter.

    First, the UCSD Cause Web site contradicts itself by calling for case-by-case evaluations of housing violations and terminations while simultaneously claiming that the group wanted all students to be treated equally. Second, Marshall students claimed on the site that they were being unfairly charged fire hazard fines because of campus residence overcrowding, which is not under their control; the dean said this is false. Third, the site quoted California law as saying that month-to-month housing agreements require 30 days notice of termination and that Marshall college is not abiding by this. However, the law goes on to say that pre-agreed housing arrangements, such as the housing contracts that students have with UCSD, are only required to give a minimum of seven days for the renter to evacuate the premises after being evicted. UCSD gives 14 days, which is fully in accordance with the law.

    Instead of publicly exaggerating their allegations in an attempt to draw the attention of the Residential Life Office, the organizers of the walkout should have contacted the dean in the first place. Houston-Hands has proved more than willing to meet with the organizers and make concessions to UCSD Cause; misrepresentations of the so-called injustices against them and a full-blown demonstration were unnecessary.

    In this case, the Marshall Dean’s Office and the Marshall Dean of Student Affairs acted admirably, recognizing the students’ concerns and extending evictions until the end of the quarter even though they had operated lawfully all along. In being open about the matter, Houston-Hands was able to explain all of the Marshall students’ claims. Had the event organizers simply contacted her first, they would have been given an understanding of why housing terminations are on the rise and where they can find information about the consequences of violations.

    While it is good to keep a close watch on the administration to ensure that it is acting fairly toward all students, an unwillingness to directly resolve problems using the proper channels is not the most mature or honorable way to initiate change.

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