On Campus

Updated: Join a frat, live on the street

Olympics visitors cause eviction of 200 UBC frat members

This strikes me as rediculous:

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.

In particular, the admission that frat members had no choice:

At Psi Upsilon, 30 fraternity members who pay $730 for monthly room and board have been ordered to leave their rooms. All possessions must be removed before the rooms are rented out.

Psi Upsilon house manager Aaron Thomson refused to say how much the group is making from its rentals.

He told The Vancouver Province the money would go toward a scholarship fund, to pay for repairs and maintenance work, and to top up the fraternity’s contingency fund.

“We have this great opportunity where we can fix the house and get all this money,” Mr. Thomson said on Wednesday. “It is, of course, difficult for most people to have to leave for a month.”

Thomson said frat members didn’t have a choice in the matter and no vote was held, but he said the majority favoured the plan.

If, indeed, the money will be used to improve frat houses, and directed towards scholarships, wouldn’t it be appropriate to put the case directly to members? Rather than evicting them without cause, why not try and convince them that it is in the best interest of the fraternity for tenants to leave for a month? According to Psi Upsilon’s website, house vacancies occur in September, and that if you want to live there, you have to wait for someone else to leave. Is there a rider in the lease that the agreement becomes during the Olympic? So much for Greek “brotherhood.”

Maybe someone a little closer to the action can tell us whether this is as outrageous as it seems.

UPDATE: As Justin Mcelroy has pointed out, not all fraternities have acted as outrageously as this Can West story has suggested. In fact, many frats consulted directly with members and ensured they were sufficiently aware of plans to rent out frat houses during the Olympics.

That still leaves the question as to whether Psi Upsilon, the frat featured in the Can West story consulted with their members or not. The Psi Upsilon house manager does say that no vote was held and that members did not have a choice.

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