UnionWest area council members reflect on their meeting with UCF’s executive housing board

Vice President of UnionWest Area Council Connor Thompson (left) and area council member Zhakia Powell (right) reflecting on the Area Council Meeting with the Executive Housing Board Nov. 22.

The UnionWest Area Council gathered to voice the students’ concern to the executive housing board of UCF Friday November 15th but wonder if it is enough to make a change.

“I feel like the meeting was some-what productive, and we did not get to cover all the issues on our agenda,” Vice President of UnionWest area council Connor Thompson said.

In response to students’ outcry for compensation for the problematic living conditions of UnionWest, the executive housing board announced that the residents of UnionWest at the UCF Downtown Campus an $150 credit toward next semester’s housing agreement at the end of October.

“Right when it happened, we were like OK, but then as we started to compile more issues, we noticed it should have been more,” Thompson said.

Despite, the credit being applied to about 600 residents in UnionWest members of the area council still raised some concerns about the amount of compensation due to residents going without working ovens, cheaper food options, and rooms being affected by mold and mildew for over a month.  

Prior to the meeting residents of UnionWest started a petition, gaining over 100 signatures within a day of students experiencing problems in UnionWest. As that list grew, the voice of the residents began to resonate with the UCF housing board.

“They were multiple meeting back in forth with the students who started the petition, and the housing board which ultimately led to the $150, but that was not enough,” Thompson said. “We initially wanted to raise the price in between $250 and $275, but it was declined.”

That decline led to the meeting between the UnionWest area council and the UCF executive housing board. Where The area council was given an hour to speak with members of the executive housing board.

The time frame led to some of the concerns of the students to not be heard, which led some students believing the meeting was not a successful as it could have been.

Thompson along with other members of the area council conducted a pre-meeting to solidify the students’ agenda and make sure all the concerns were heard, but Thompson believes there were still some more preparing that could be done.

“We were basically their voicing concerns, but we had not come with our own solutions, we just wanted to hear what they had to say about the problems,” Zhakia Powell, junior game design major, said.

Powell serves as a Community Represenative on the UnionWest area council and said the council could have been more prepared. Thompson listed Valencia as a topic that did not get any attention in the meeting due to the time.

“We did not even get the chance to talk about how Valencia students on campus the option doesn’t have to use the shuttle, and with our general council meeting being on UCF main campus they are not even able to go,” Thompson said.

As for the topics like the ovens, trash chutes, and food options not being readily available for the residents for an extended period. The executive board had ready made solutions for the problems according to Thompson and Powell

“They basically told us that the problems were fixed, on top of the $150 dollar compensation we received,” Thompson said.

Powell attempted to warn the area council and other students that $150 was not going to be enough in negotiations prior to the meeting, but to no avail.

“The people who met with housing originally asked for $150, and I thought it was a bad idea, because of all the additional issues we were getting, and now everybody is saying that is not enough.”

While attempting to bring up issues that have happened and are ongoing, the area council’s meeting resulted in no immediate change, but the executive housing board encouraged the council to continue to reach out with any concerns, and meeting request.

“I appreciate them for meeting with us and we did get to be heard, and air some things out,” Thompson said. “We should have just been more prepared on what we wanted to discuss, and figure out why things were happening, it just was not a productive as it could have been.”

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