Coalition of Graduate Workers opposes Mizzou's decision to close Manor House apartments

The Manor House at 306 Hitt Street is scheduled to close.
The Manor House at 306 Hitt Street is scheduled to close.

The Coalition of Graduate Workers is putting its influence behind opposing the University of Missouri's decision to close Manor House student apartments.

The building, constructed in 1962, is located at 306 Hitt St.

The university has told residents to be out of the apartments by the time leases expire in June or by the end of the summer at the latest.

The apartment building has $13.5 million in deferred maintenance, and closing it will keep housing costs down for students, said MU spokesman Christian Basi.

Seventy-five of the apartments are occupied, Basi said. The eventual plan is to demolish the building, he has said.

The university conducts a five-year review of all its buildings, and the most recent review placed Manor House in the category of demolition being the most cost-effective option.

More: Manor House residents have to move out by the end of the summer — and they're concerned

"It is no longer something we need to have burdening the university," Basi said.

Residents of Manor House haven't adequately been kept in the communication loop, said Mike Olson, spokesman for the Coalition of Graduate Workers.

The coalition is urging Manor House residents to share their grievances on social media and call the Department of Residential Life to let it know of their opposition.

Members placed flyers under the doors of Manor House residents.

"The closure of Manor House demonstrates, once again, Mizzou administrators' utter contempt and complete lack of regard for its graduate workers," the flyer reads. "They say they value us and appreciate our contributions, but if they really valued us they would not try to take your home away from you and put you out on the street!

"This action cannot stand," the flyer continued. "It must and will be fought."

The coalition plans to mobilize in opposition to the closure between now and June, Olson said.

The group is misinformed, Basi said.

"It bothers me when you have people who have not been here who make allegations where they don't have all the information," Basi said about the Coalition of Graduate Workers.

It's not the coalition's fault if it doesn't have all the information, Olson said.

"If we're not in possession of all the information, it's because the university has not been transparent," he said.

Many of the residents of Manor House are international students, and most are graduate students.

"International students may not have that much experience negotiating American housing markets," Olson said.

The university has adequate capacity to meet the housing needs of students who live in Manor House, Basi said. The university is encouraging Manor residents to consider Tara Apartments.

On the issue of the deferred maintenance, Basi said the university has made repairs as needed and there were no immediate safety needs of the building.

Chief Financial Officer Ryan Rapp last week, without mentioning Manor House specifically, said older residence halls require more maintenance, which doesn't allow for improvements in other buildings, potentially hurting recruitment efforts in the long term.

The UM System Board of Curators last week approved housing and dining rates for 2022.

More students are choosing private housing, and several students in Manor House and Tara Apartments will graduate this year, Basi said.

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MU has the lowest housing costs among the four UM System campuses and is trying to keep the costs low, Basi said.

"I would say we are very competitive, if not the most affordable, among universities in terms of housing," Basi said.

The Coalition of Graduate Workers is "cautiously hopeful" it can change the mind of MU administrators about Manor House, while also realizing they tend to dismiss feedback, Olson said.

"We know the odds are long," Olson said.


This article originally appeared on Columbia Daily Tribune: Coalition of Graduate Workers opposes MU decision to close Manor house