(Originally published on 3/10/17 in The Record: https://buffstaterecord.com/9088/uncategorized/president-conway-turner-opens-controversial-campus-walk-apartment-complex/)
Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner opened up about the controversial Greenleaf & Co. apartment complex ‘Campus Walk’ being built during a college senate meeting today.
Conway-Turner acknowledged the uproar surrounding the development, but backed Greenleaf, saying the complex is the solution to the housing issue.
She began by addressing The Investigative Post’s article (and a more recent one here) about Campus Walk and Greenleaf & Co., which exposed Greenleaf’s “shady” treatment of tenants in the past and detailed many specific complaints. The complaints involved everything from leaky ceilings not getting fixed to unjustly taking security deposits.
“[The Investigative Post] is shining what I consider to be a negative light on a very creative partnership that we have been a part of.”
“Our partnership, or affiliation, is about location, location, location. It’s a great location for our students and it helps us to meet some of our housing needs,” Conway-Turner said.
Conway-Turner also stressed that Greenleaf & Co. is a private entity and not Buffalo State’s facility. She said that there was no reason for Buffalo State to undertake an in-house construction project.
Many voiced opposition when it was announced that Greenleaf was chosen to build the new housing complex.
After The Investigative Post and The Record published articles about Greenleaf’s shady practices, more complaints flooded in.
However, it’s no secret that Buffalo State has housing issues.
In recent years, freshmen have been forced to share two-person dorm rooms between three people, and many students have been housed off-campus at Canisius and Medaille College.
Recently, Buffalo State announced that, starting next year, seniors will not be allowed to live on campus at all and will have to find alternative housing. Campus Walk is the proposed solution to this, but it is being met with resistance.
This announcement caused uproar among students including from Buffalo State’s USG President Terron Grant, who released this press release saying he and the rest of USG “does not support this policy and believes it is misguided.”
Daniel Vélez, Vice President of Student Affairs, and Michael Levine, Vice President of Budget and Finance gave a presentation about the financial benefits of outsourcing the construction of Campus Walk. They also answered questions from the college senate.
The presentation was met with many questions from the senators, many expressing dissent and weariness toward the deal.
One concern brought up by a senator is the fact that these leases are being marketed as a solution for seniors, however a senior must sign a one-year lease even if they plan to graduate early. If a senior graduated in May, he would have to pay the lease to the beginning of August.
Campus Walk offers a 1-year lease for apartment suites between two and four-bedrooms ranging from about $10,000 -$12,000, comparable to the costs of current options.
Seniors will not be allowed to live on campus until all of the housing in Campus Walk has been filled. Students can opt to move off campus or be put on a waiting list for on-campus housing that will be chosen only if Campus Walk is full.
Because Campus Walk is considered off-campus housing, financial aid will not be accepted.
Vélez defended their decision by saying that most senior students already choose to live off campus.