On Jan. 14, residents of The Village were encouraged to fill empty beds in order to keep their home. The due date, set at Feb. 13, was made to enforce the Terms of Participation. If beds are not filled in the homes, the organization will lose their house.
According to Keith Corzine, Director of Residential Living, the Terms of Participation was established in 2004, prior to the building of The Village. The Terms of Participation were to guarantee that all beds were to be filled. However, Corzine feels that some things were taken for granted.
“There were issues in the Terms of Participation the longer The Village was running,” Corzine said. “I certainly don’t hold it against the people that worked through things but I think they took a couple of things for guaranteed. One thing was they thought it was going to be high occupancy, which the Greek community would jump at this opportunity to live in The Village and that did not happen or not like they thought it was going to happen. As we progress through these five years, it has become obvious, that at least in the current state of affairs in Greek Life, it has not happened yet and may not for some time.”
Since there were issues in the Terms of Participation, the University has been working on changes that need to be made. Greek Leadership will look at the policy and add suggestions, making it easier for students.
“In the mean time, we have to think about next year,” Corzine said. “While the terms are being worked on and are currently being sent to a legal council, then we’ll review it…[and] put it in a format that they can live with. After this, we will come back and sit down with Greek Leadership and work from there. I am sure there will be changes. We will sit down and work through the terms later and come up with a final piece.”
Another problem made was the structure of The Village when built. Homes are too large for some organizations to fill.
“I think there were many mistakes,” Corzine said. “I think one area was when The Village was built, it was built based on the size of the Greek organization that existed five years ago. The houses are slightly larger then what they needed to have been. So instead of having a 20 bed house and 16 bed houses, I think we might have been better served with 16’s and 12’s and scaled it back. I think it has been difficult over the years for the Greeks to fill their houses.”
While these changes are being made to the terms, Residential Living must look at next year.
“We had to figure out how we could fill The Village for next fall,” Corzine said. “We had to come up with a thought, we knew it was a rush or a small time frame that people had to really hustle. We had to come up with what we thought was a fair period for application that let Greeks have first shot and then after that came groups that had been down there, so that was a opportunity for other groups and that opened up to other organizations that would like to live in The Village but never have been able to.”
Corzine wants to help Village residents understand the meaning of the Terms of Participation by making it clear that all expectations are in demand and that they must be filled. Corzine also strives to make sure that students know how the next terms will work.
“The terms will go to the table of Greek Leadership and there will be the ability to make changes,” Corzine said. “There will be some that have to be kept in there but there are some that we could find some ground on. We will come to the table as open minded as we can and we will find a common ground.”
Although this might mean organizations could lose their homes, the reason of this is the financial debt that The Village has made to the University. The Village must pay for itself.
“The Village was an 11 plus million dollar investment at that time,” Corzine said. “That dept is there for around 30 years dept so we still have 25 years to pay that money. It all comes down to money and we expect it to pay for itself and it’s a business issue.”
Corzine wants to insure that he wants everyone to have a great experience living in The Village.
“This is just a business issue,” Corzine said. “Trust me, I want to see everyone have a wonderful experience at Western if you’re Greek or non-Greek, whether it’s a theme community, whether its Judaculla house or Civic Place, whether it’s the Spanish house living in Central, I want everyone to have a wonderful experience. There are just not enough people that live there to pay the bills and that’s why we need to fill the homes.”