Oppose Eastern Michigan University’s privatization schemes!
IYSSE at Eastern Michigan University
5 March 2019
In early February 2019, Eastern Michigan University (EMU) in Ypsilanti, Michigan, announced that it is considering privatizing its housing services. If the plan goes through, campus housing will become the third on-campus institution to be privatized in the past three years following dining services in 2016 and parking services in 2018.
Eastern Michigan University’s Chief Financial Officer, Michael Valdes, has noted that privatization is just one of the possibilities being examined by the university, though it appears to be the most likely.
Conditions in many of the residence halls on campus have deteriorated significantly in recent years. During the 2017-18 academic year, Hill Hall, which has since closed, suffered from chronic lack of heating and hot water. Such conditions create dangerous situations for students living in dorms in a region where temperatures often drop below freezing. This winter in particular has seen temperatures as low as -15 degrees Fahrenheit. The issue became such a problem during the latest cold snap that on January 4, the Residence Life Office was compelled to send residents an email alerting them that the Physical Plant was overwhelmed by work orders regarding low room temperatures.
According to school newspaper the Eastern Echo, students have cited a wide range of concerns beyond heating and hot water, such as burst pipes, flooding, power outages and accessibility.
That the housing services at EMU are desperately underfunded is undisputed. But how this will be addressed is a contentious issue. The university administration is attempting to use the poor state of housing to further transform the public institution into a tool…