Rector encourages lobbying for city codes

Student Government Association is looking for lobbyists, SGA president Tommy Rector announced Wednesday.

The student government wants students to support possible changes to the Muncie housing code, which will be brought before the Muncie city council next month.

"I want to do a lobbying effort on behalf of the students in support of some of the housing code and changes that are being recommended by the task force that was established by the mayor," Rector said.

Rector said because the changes have not been introduced yet, he was unsure what they would be. However, he told SGA's off-campus caucus that the changes could benefit neighborhoods around Ball State.

Rector spoke with the caucus and the governmental affairs committee about the changes before announcing it to the whole senate. He said the changes relate to problems of trash, parking and overcrowding students experience in off-campus housing that the caucus and committee have already been researching.

"Students are being taken advantage of because we are inexperienced renters," Rector said. "Landlords are making tons and tons of money from pretty poor properties."

If the housing code is not changed, Rector said, a possible special zone could be created for Ball State. In this case, the university would not have control of the neighborhoods surrounding campus, but Muncie would keep a stronger look on these areas, Rector said.

Ball State had control of these areas at one time, according to Rector, but he said he was unsure how the university lost that control.

Governmental affairs committee chairman Nathan Herber said in addition to lobbying efforts, his committee is discussing giving information about Student Legal Services to students who live on and off campus. This information would inform students of free legal services Ball State offers if they have questions about rental properties.

SGA Residence Hall Association liaison Stewart Whitcomb also brought a student housing issue before the Student Senate Wednesday.

Whitcomb told the senate RHA is working on legislation that would set a distance smokers have to stay from residence halls' doors.

"People should be able to pass in and out of the halls without breathing in smoke that they don't want to," Whitcomb said.

If passed, Whitcomb said the legislation would have benches and ashtrays moved the required distance away from doors. Resident assistants and hall directors would enforce this policy, Whitcomb said, but did not mention any punishments.

LaFollette, Studebaker East and West already have smoking distance policies in place, according to Whitcomb. However, this legislation would make a uniform policy for all the halls.


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