Steph (nissacrosseyed) wrote in uw,

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Tent City at the UW?

I'd be interested (for very big reasons, as I am Newman's student council president) to hear people's thoughts about this idea....

ASUW senator seeks to bring Tent City to UW (link) - By Tom Christiansen (Daily)

ASUW senator Devin Craig presented a resolution for the UW to host the homeless encampment Tent City 4 once its permit to remain on the Seattle University campus expires in March.

While alternative locations have been discussed for Tent City 4, Craig wants the ASUW senate to pass his resolution -- drafted on behalf of his constituency at the Newman Center. Craig said he thinks a resolution in support of hosting Tent City 4 from the student government would make UW administrators consider hosting a tent city more than any single campus group could.

"All of us have a part in this because there could be a time where that's where we are -- we could see ourselves there too," Craig said. "We've got to reach out to those less fortunate right now and this is one small thing we could do and while there's plenty of things we could do, this is what we can do right now."

Background checks and mandatory perimeter security should allay people who fear the makeshift camps are packed with criminals, Craig said.

According to a report issued earlier this year by the Committee to End Homelessness in King County, more than 8,000 individuals are without permanent shelter at any given time in King County. Craig said this information, combined with the support of the Newman Center, compelled him to draft a resolution to aid those in need.

"Our idea was to put it to the entire university and get a lot of involvement. We're not looking to do this on our own, we're looking to get the whole community involved," said Shawna McMahon, campus minister of the Newman Center. "One of the reasons that we are lobbying for this is that Catholics are supposed to help those in need even if it can only be for a little while."

Regardless of whether ASUW senators support the resolution, Craig said the Newman Center will continue to push for a tent city hosting site in the U-District.

If ASUW does not pass the resolution or the UW administration rejects it outright, Craig said it will be much more difficult to secure a location for Tent City 4.

"[Tent City could be located] wherever the University wants it, though I expressly didn't put it into the legislation because I wanted to field ideas," Craig said. "We at the Newman Center haven't tried to ask anybody to help us out, but it's not as though we're not willing to allow someone to help along with us."

The resolution's first readings were during the senate meeting Tuesday night. The resolution will be read for a second time at the senate's Mar. 1 meeting.
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