Louis Riel residents confront SFU admin

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Photo courtesy of Erik Sagmoen

Residents of the soon-to-be closed Louis Riel House (LRH) residence building took to SFU administration’s office to express their discontent with the university’s response to their transition.

Representatives from the Louis Riel House Community Association met with associate VP of students Tim Rahilly twice last week. They articulated that they feel SFU has been unfair in its treatment of LRH residents, giving less support to non-heteronormative families and individuals.

SFU has committed to provide support for all residents who must move out of LRH by the end of the summer. The university has promised to provide priority for residents to be placed in alternative housing in SFU residence, reference letters for landlords upon request, financial assistance to mitigate the increased cost of off-campus housing, as well as moving supplies.

A report made by VP academic and provost Jon Driver to the SFU board of governors stated: “Students with children who currently use childcare or the elementary school on Burnaby Mountain will be provided with financial assistance that represents the difference between LRH rents and average rents in UniverCity housing.”

The Community Association feels that individuals and families that do not fit that description are being “left out in the cold,” as they have stated in a recent release. The release also says that there has been a breakdown in communication between SFU and LRH tenants, leading to their visitation of the administrators’ offices on Monday, June 1.

The statement released claims that “SFU has arbitrarily declared some students ineligible or less eligible for support,” and has made the following request: equal support for the specific needs of all residents on a case by case basis. They ask for the accommodation of those who have articulated a need for on-campus housing “for reasons of safety, avoiding housing discrimination, comfort related to mental or physical health, ability or mobility,” with particular reference to single residents, families without children, and queer couples.

They would also like SFU to support student residents who may not be leaseholders, but are roommates of leaseholders in LRH’s two bedroom units, and to charge them the same rent they paid in LRH for other residence dorm accommodation.

A statement by SFU assured, “It is SFU’s goal to help each resident make a successful transition from Louis Riel House to alternate accommodation.”

The residents will meet again with Rahilly next week to further resolve these issues.