Doing justice to the new New Rez

Hyde Park

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Was a portion of The Daily’s article on the newest MORE Residence missing? The September 2 News story, “New New Rez at 515 Ste. Catherine,” begins by acknowledging the Rez’s perks – such as its amenities and “brand-new apartment” feeling – but it ends negatively and abruptly, incorrectly citing the distance from other MORE Houses and exaggerating minor building problems with floors on which MORE residents do not live. Further, the article concludes with a scathing quotation from a trusted residence expert (read: a random frosh leader) that calls McGill Residences “ill-prepared,” and the scenario for this newest MORE Residence “ridiculous.”

Regarding the incorrect citation about distance: the complete MORE community consists not only of the houses on Pins and University, but also the Dio, PrezRez, and the Greenbriar. The Dio – MORE’s geographic centre – is as far from 515 Ste. Catherine as it is from the houses on Pins. Simply, 515 is not geographically isolated from the other MORE buildings.

We applaud The Daily for consulting and quoting both Janice Johnson, a face of the McGill Residences system, and Julia Huggett, a student at 515. However, we wonder why The Daily would consult a Frosh Leader. Who is Roland Lindala-Haumont, and how valuable is his opinion about a Rez that neither is nor was his home? It looks to us like The Daily fished around for a biting quotation, and found one from someone who has nothing to do with the issue. Here’s a quotation: Laura Garfinkel, a U0 Arts student who lives in the 515 MORE Rez, said that The Daily’s article “didn’t do the Rez justice.”

What was the intention of the article? As the floorfellows living in 515 Ste. Catherine, our primary concern is the happiness, safety, and wellbeing of our students. Surely, first years who have just moved into their new home at 515 MORE can’t feel too comfortable reading such an article. It’s been a tradition of The Daily to criticize the McGill administration at every possible opportunity, but McGill Residences is a separate entity – and a proven defender of student rights at McGill.

Any university that guarantees first-year housing deals with issues of overbooking. McGill Residences dealt with this year’s housing challenge in a brilliant way – offering the option of moving into a brand new apartment building in a great location, just seven minutes from the Roddick Gates.

With regard to the article’s observation of a “hasty arrangement and scramble to complete construction,” the truth is that the building is completely and comfortably livable, with some unobtrusive scaffolding lingering around the exterior.

Further, we take deep umbrage at the article’s analysis of fees. It may not have been intentional, but the paragraph on fees trivializes the entire McGill Residence experience. Are the floorfellows, Director, and Rez Council not worth the marginal fee? Floorfellows are trained upper-years who provide social programming, academic advice, personal support, and friendship for students in the most transitional year of their lives – are they not worth it? Directors are University faculty and staff that serve as mentors, liaisons between students and McGill’s bureaucratic administration, and disciplinary officers – are their services not valuable? And do Council funds not enable events that make first year so memorable? 515 students on the McGill-leased floors, like any other MORE students, have the opportunity to run for MORE council and decide how these funds are invested.

515 MORE provides students with a beautiful home. Ask anyone – anyone who matters, anyway – and you’ll find that your article “didn’t do justice.”

Adam Harris Levine, Alexandra Mealia, Alexander Metz, and Nikki Shaffeeullah are floorfellows at 515 MORE.