On Campus

"Frathouses evict students" story misses the mark

UBC students knew of Olympics displacement when they signed their contracts

A story by the National Post on UBC fraternities renting out their buildings for the Olympics has raised eyebrows:

More than 200 students at the University of British Columbia are being forced out of their rooms by their own fraternities — which have decided to cash in by renting out to 2010 Games visitors.

The story insinuates that fraternity members are being unfairly kicked out of their places for a whole month with little compensation. One problem with the story: While it seems that one fraternity (Psi Upsilon) didn’t fully consult with its members before hand, most fraternity members were consulted every step of the way.

Adam Mattinson, house manager of Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE), said that discussions on renting out their fraternity for the Games had begun in early 2009 with the DKE council, and that all members who chose to live in the house for the 2009–2010 school year knew when signing their contract that they would be forced to find temporary accommodation in February.

“We knew well in advance that this was going to happen, so we’ve been doing everything we can to make sure there are no issues,” he said. While DKE has not yet fully decided where the additional funds will be going, all residents will see their rent lowered for January, March and April, in addition to not paying for February.

Another fraternity, Alpha Delta Phi (ADP), will be giving each of their displaced residents an additional $500 in exchange for leaving for the month of February. They also started consulting with their members as far back as early 2009, and also had a clause in their residence contracts explaining the situation.

“Ultimately, renting out our fraternity house during the games will benefit members,” said Campbell Bryson, ADP philanthropy chair. He mentioned, as the Post story did, that the point of renting out the fraternities—which are located across the street from UBC’s Thunderbird Arena, host hockey and sledge-hockey during the Olympics—is to increase funds for various initiatives: some are putting the money to scholarships, while others are using it for building maintenance.

So, put this one fairly low on the “Olympic Scandal” meter—it seems that the inconvenience of members leaving for a month is offset by the long term goal of helping a (fraternity) brother out.

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