Housing agreement no longer friendly

I hate being in a box.

Especially when it’s a 27-story tower that barely accommodates my basic needs.

It’s not that I don’t don’t enjoy the shots of frigid cold and boiling hot water in my morning shower, or hearing Eminem’s latest blaring from eight doors down late at night.

I don’t mind having to show my ID every time I walk into the building — it’s for my safety. It doesn’t bother me that there is a need for such a concern.

These are all part of the game, and I accept them.

But let me go when I want out.

There’s an obligation involved. Imagine you’re wrestling your favorite uncle and he manages to stick you into a sleeper hold.

He’s supposed to give when you say let go.

Housing is clearly playing by a different set of rules. Residents must pay a $500 fee if they choose to leave the dorms mid-school year. Their $150 deposit is also lost.

The quaint postcards delivered to mailboxes recently across the Hill were the first hint students got of Housing’s plan to keep residents in their grasps.

It doesn’t feel right. If Housing had sent a flier to prospective residents last semester warning them that this new rule was looming, it would be different.

I guess Moms and Pops were right — never sign without reading the fine print. It’s a valuable lesson to learn, but not one I’d expect to get the hard way from my school.

You tell students in M.A.S.T.E.R Plan that you’re on their side. How does this fit that criteria?

It’s not so much the $500. I understand Housing’s argument and sympathize with their reasoning: Every bed on campus must be filled to pay for the university’s ambitious dorm renovation project.

But it seems like a slight lack of confidence to proclaim our dorms significantly improved on one end and proceed to trap those who are already living in dorms on the other. I’m just asking for some consistency in reasoning.

If a student signed an apartment lease assuming it was for five months — because that’s what it had always been — and then learned there was a hidden fee to those who didn’t stay for another five months, Housing would be among those crying foul against their seedy competitor. They would assure said student that Housing would BEGINITAL never ENDITAL take such liberty with a student’s trust.

Maybe that is just what I’d hope they would say.

It’s called a housing “agreement.” It implies a friendly deal: You save me a spot, I’ll make sure you get it back the way I found it.

But the postcards reminded us that it is a contract: We break it, you charge us something we can’t afford.

At least residents now know what they’re dealing with.

Joseph Lord is a junior print journalism major from Louisville.