The seemingly endless tussle between tenants and Ann Arbor
landlords, a recurring woe for students seeking to move off-campus,
is about to start again this year.

But the Michigan Student Assembly is teaming up with the
University’s Student Legal Services to create a place for
students to bring their concern and to finally alleviate some of
their problems.

MSA is organizing a new Housing Advisory Board, a group which
will research general issues plaguing off-campus living conditions,
such as students’ lack of awareness about their rights as
tenants.

The group, which will hold its first public meeting later next
month, will consist of six students and two University
representatives.

At last night’s assembly meeting, Doug Lewis, director of
Student Legal Services, expressed his interest in working with MSA
to finally resolve tensions between tenants and landlords.

He noted that in the past broad issues that affected many
students were often ignored because of the way that SLS was set up
to deal with them.

“At least 30 percent of what we do involves disputes
between tenants and landlords, and many of the individual problems
overlap. However, it is hard to combat these larger problems by
working only on a case by case basis,” said Lewis, who will
be one of two University representatives on the board.

Jesse Levine, MSA Student General Counsel, who has been working
closely with Lewis on this topic, said, “The advisory board
will increases the communication between tenants and
SLS.”

The expired Student Housing Taskforce, which organized in
January 2003 under the presidency of then-LSA senior Sarah Boot,
had similar goals of improving off-campus living.

The current assembly aims to revitalize the task force’s
intentions and improve upon them. “By selecting
representatives through a more selective application process, we
hope to have better qualified spokespeople,” Levine said.

The representatives will be selected by Levine and members of
MSA’s Campus Governance Committee. An e-mail will be sent to
the presidents of all student groups on campus within the next few
days with information about the application process. Eligible
applicants are not, however, limited to group leaders.

Levine encouraged anyone interested in the board to e-mail him
at jeslevne@umich.edu.

Once selected, the new advisory board representatives will
collect a list of the pressing off-campus housing issues and bring
them to the attention of SLS at a town hall meeting scheduled for
Oct. 27.

Levine added that working with Lewis and the SLS from the
beginning of the advisory board’s creation will help ensure
its effectiveness. “The SLS is one of the best kept secrets
on campus, and one of the most useful resources,” Levine
said.

Also last night the MSA welcomed four new representatives from
the College of Literature, Science and the Arts: junior Greg
Lavigne, freshman Aleks Mielczarek, junior Charles Adside III, and
sophomore Justin Paul.

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