UMD tenants want out of their housing leases ASAP

By Percy Langston

“President Pines, we don’t want to wait anymore,” said Hannah Aalemansour, senior French and Biology major. “We’ve got classes to deal with, our futures to plan. We need you to help us succeed.”

A group of concerned UMD tenants held a car caravan on campus Friday afternoon. The caravan left lot 4b around 2:20 p.m., slowly making its way across campus to Mowatt Parking Garage. The caravan stopped in front of the main administration building.

 The group of about 10 cars honked their horns and waved signs with slogans including, hashtag free UMD students and “students before bondholders”. 

When the car caravan arrived at South Campus Commons around 2:35 p.m., student organizers gave short speeches demanding that administration stand up for UMD students trapped in off campus leases during the pandemic. You’re hearing senior french and biology major hannah aalemansour.

“It has been three months of absolute silence. It’s time for you to help us out,” said Aalemansour.

This UMD tenants event was the most recent in a series of student led protests, including a trip to the Maryland State House on September 16, 2020. 

Student organizer Gavin Hohn explained, “I want UMD to take their power back, because they’re in a partnership, and they should be looking out for their students, and they should be pushing MEDCO, and they should get us out of these leases, because we are students. You have to be a student to live there. And right now they’re claiming that they have nothing to do with this, and they can’t, but it’s a partnership and they have more sway than they’re saying, and I want them to take advantage of that.”

MEDCO,  or the Maryland Economic Development Corporation, is a state agency that holds ownership of South Campus Commons and the Courtyards.

 However, these apartments are managed by Capstone On-Campus Management, an Alabama-based Company. 

In a statement, Capstone said they were unable to release students from leases due to, “obligations to bondholders, vendors  and other entities.” 

Kohn, a senior Mechanical Engineering and Astronomy major, is one of over 100 students taking legal action against this company.

For now, Kohn is still trapped in his lease at the Courtyards despite living at home. But for he and many other students with concerns for safety and financial security during the pandemic, the fight continues.

Published by wmucradionews

WMUC Radio News is the University of Maryland's only student-run radio news program broadcasting live to 88.1 FM College Park every Monday classes are in session from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

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