UMass- Drastic changes have been made by the division of Student Affairs and Campus Life (SACL) due to the high demand for on campus housing.

Vice Chancellor and Executive Director of SACL,  Jean Kim stated “We have known for a couple years that we would be hitting a crunch for undergraduate housing.”
However it seems, more than ever theSACL have become the mainstream of today’s Daily Collegian headlines and causing under siege within the university.
“This is a pressing issue because the SACL decisions are having influential effects on the student body”  according to the editor of The Daily Collegian, Katie Landeck.
The SACL have decided to raise the rent and move all families out of the Lincoln Apartments to house the surplus of undergraduates who wish live on campus.

The Lincoln Apartments, located on the south side of campus, right behind southwest has been known to occupy graduate students and some faculty workers. There has are no reports of undergraduates living in the Lincoln Apartments.

Graduate Student Senate believes SACL changes violated the Wellman Document.

According to GSS Treasurer, Robin Anderson,  the Wellman Document  “ is a governance document, stating governmenting bodies on campus that is recognized by the university have the right to have their input heard on any policies changes that directly affect them.”

On April 4, GSS wrote a formal letter to Chancellor Robert Holub, demanding to suspend the new policy so both governing bodies could re-evaluate about the new policy and asking for a response by April 13.

There was no response so on April 19, the GSS held meeting and voted 11-2 for no confidence in Jean Kim, Vice Chancellor (SACL) and Executive Director of Residential Life Edward Hull.

Reportedly neither Kim nor Hull have responded but Anderson believes GSS has made their motives clear to Jean Kim and Edward Hull, who are very much aware of the situation.

“It’s an ongoing thing, a trend towards the erosion of on-campus housing for graduate students” said Matthew Ferrari, Family Issues Advocate for the Graduate Employee Organization (GEO).

Ferrari said the changes will allow the University  to increase its revenue by 100 percent because it will now be able to charge $750 per person in each apartment in Lincoln. Under the new guidelines for the Lincoln residential area, tenants, which will include undergraduate and graduate students, must adhere to a 24-hour quiet policy.

“The average graduate stipend is about $14,000 or $15,000 and rent is about 50-60% of that every year. To put that in perspective, Vice Chancellor Kim would be paying about $12,000 per month and Chancellor Holub would be paying about $20,000 per month” said Ferrari.

According to the UMass Strategic Residential Plan [page 23 of 27] – a qualitative and quantitative study done by Biddison Hier on residential life in 2002 – nearly all graduate students are dependent on their stipends for a living and are therefore in a price sensitive situation, where the University should provide housing for a cost that is reasonable based on a graduate student’s stipend.

“With international student it’s a tricky situation because their only allowed to work twenty hours per work, they can’t find jobs outside of campus, it has to be within campus. Their limited within their hours so they can’t find more income elsewhere. And these changes directly impact [graduate students] in ways more negatively than the population” stated Anderson.

“Their housing needs to reflect [these restrictions,]” says Ferrari. “If the University wants to raise our wages accordingly, that’s fine. They either need to do that or lower rent, or keep it where it is at the very least.”

Occupancy for the Lincoln apartments will increase to 160 students  in 2013, and to again 182 in 2014, effectively removing all graduate family housing options from the Lincoln apartments and funneling all families into the North Village apartments in the future.

“They are trying to fix the vacancy issue at North Village by evicting families from Lincoln and trying to fill North Village with [those families] because of the 6 to 12 percent vacancy rate,” said Ferrari.

The UMass Strategic Residential Plan [page 23 of 27] – is a qualitative and quantitative study done by Biddison Hier on residential life in 2002 – nearly all graduate students are dependent on their stipends for a living and are therefore in a price sensitive situation, where the University should provide housing for a cost that is reasonable based on a graduate student’s stipend.

According to Ferrari “The average graduate stipend is about $14,000 or $15,000 and rent is about 50-60% of that every year  and to put in perspective, Vice Chancellor Kim would be paying about $12,000 per month and Chancellor Holub would be paying about $20,000 per month.”

The biggest impact of these changes will be the University’s struggle to recruit and retain top-level researchers from abroad believes Ferrari.

The Framework of Excellence, a vision created by the Chancellor and President, put emphasis on recruiting top-level researchers and becoming a premier international research institution, but when the cost of living is higher than the stipend a graduate student would receive, its hard to recruit the talent to fill those research positions.

“Most of these top-level researchers are going to have other options like the University of Connecticut or Rutgers, I know for a fact that the average annual stipend is anywhere from $16,000 to $25,000 and the cost of living is about the same” Ferrari said.

“This trend we are seeing, it’s very similar to how they’ve handled other university situations such as recent the peer mentor situation and the housing shortage in general this year” Landeck said.

“A lot of graduate students are going to have to live off campus, might have to buy cars meaning more vehicle traffic coming into Amherst” said Ferrari.

Lastly, Anderson stated “SACL has a motto throughout campus that this is a student first campus. It’s everywhere. We [GSS] would actually like to see that in practice not just a motto that they can put up on their websites and in their pamphlets to sell the university to their student and that [SACL] would actually adhere to that motto.”

By Tyler Manoukian, Melissa Gately, and Remy Schwartz

When I was a freshman last year and I started pondering the idea of becoming a journalism major but my main concern was I thought journalism was a dying profession. Also I didn’t think I would be able to find a job or ever become successful if I chose to major in journalism. However, after taking several journalism classes I discovered I was wrong.

Before this class, I wasn’t aware of the wide variety of job opportunities journalism could entail. The Journalism classes that I had taken before the multimedia class were primarily about the newspaper industry and print writing. Although I found it all very interesting, I just knew it wasn’t for me. Also I was aware of the struggles newspapers were facing today in order to stay afloat. It was daunting for me to see small staffs struggle to distribute the large amount workload among them.

So when I discovered the multimedia class it was kind on a whim and could only hope for the best because I really wanted to refrain from the print or newspaper industry. So when I read the description for the multimedia class, I reflected back on myself and felt that I have always had a special niche with computers and navigating the web and believe it came relatively easy for me.  Especially when I compare myself to my parents who struggle with basic things such as turning on the TV or computer. Lastly, I have always enjoyed taking pictures, making sideshows, watching documentaries and even uploaded a YouTube video that showed edited clips of at the time my favorite tv show and was able to incorporate my favorite song in it.

So I guess it’s always been a special interest of mind and was always in the back of mind about creating multimedia packages but I never knew there was a class that taught you how to create an effective news package. Which is why I throughly enjoyed taking the multimedia class.

Now after having completed the multimedia course, I have a better perspective of where the future of Journalism is going. I  realize Journalism isn’t going anywhere, if anything it is more omnipresent than ever. More than ever, people are more active and interest with journalism today because of the capability of receiving journalism at the palm of a hand.

Also with the advances of technology, technology has created a variety of different ways people can receive news. Before the multimedia era, people received their information only through the radio, TV and newspaper. Now people can receive there news in a variety of different ways, they can receive it on their phone, through a podcast, stream videos, through photos or photo gallery and interactive maps.

With these news options on how people can choose the way they receive their information, this new technology has created new job opportunities for the journalism field.

In the article The Demise of Newspapers means better journalismit discusses the future of journalism is on the rise because of technology. The types of benefits technology has created is more opportunities for reporting, enhanced reporting (instant), and lastly, a better understanding for their audiences.

Now I realize how vital the internet and the Web has become for the future of journalism. I never considered that the internet or the Web has changed the ways newspapers operate today. In conclusion I realize journalism is indeed the right major for me.

In addition, I recently got sent an email about a possible internship opportunity that is asking for correspondent to conduct interviews with fellow students on health topics and a camera will be provided. This internship is precisely what I’ve been looking for because it’s exactly what I  want to do which is be a health and nutrition related journalist. Also I feel confident in filming, conducting interviews and editing videos to make things into an effective news package and it definitely wouldn’t have been possible  if I hadn’t taken the multimedia course.