Students deserve more following City Vista closure


Seven months ago, students were informed on April 29, 2021 that City Vista, the university-owned and -operated off-campus apartment complex, would be closed for the 2021-2022 academic year. Those who had just completed the housing application one week prior and been accepted to live in City Vista were informed that their housing for the year had been revoked, and to seek out other solutions.

Administration and students alike were surprised by the news that City Vista would need to undergo renovations; the damage done to the building by the Texas winter storm in February had lasting effects that could not go unattended. Student safety was put first in the decision to close the building, and students were alerted soon after inspections had revealed such major structural issues.

Despite such actions being taken for the sake of student safety, little was and has been done beyond that to openly support students affected by the change.

Next to zero unsolicited help was offered to students. Besides a couple of emails suggesting methods for apartment hunting and announcing question and answer sessions with Residential Life and administrators, students were left to find housing on their own in the three months before classes started. An advertised limited amount of housing remained on campus and could be offered, creating a dilemma for students without means of transportation to and from off-campus housing. And the location of the university in one of San Antonio’s wealthiest, oldest parts of town made the act of finding affordable housing a challenge.

Students received no stipend for the added stress (and costs) of apartment hunting, no solutions to the issue of transportation, no discounted meal plans.

To this day, students have received little response to their grievances regarding the university’s handling of City Vista’s urgent renovation. Although the issue and potential solutions have been discussed off-and-on during the climate check portions of Student Government Association sessions, there has been a serious lack of effort on the part of the university to proactively amend students’ hardships and concerns.

The appeal of City Vista was its ease of use and proximity to campus — just a short walk across Hildebrand — not necessarily its often-scrutinized drawbacks and flooding and leakage issues that outdate the February storm. What students want is not unreasonable: City bus passes, proactive assistance in finding suitable housing and deductions to meal plan costs were and are not unfeasible or greedy in their nature. They are students’ request that the university take at least mild responsibility for the basic needs suddenly brought upon those kicked out of City Vista.

Now, City Vista serves merely as a temporary parking garage for students as renovations are underway. When reporters have reached out to leaders in the building’s renovation process, they have been met with claims of there being little-to-no updates, and no new information.

It feels silly, seven months later, to still be suggesting that the university be proactive in its response to the closure of City Vista. Renovations are already underway, students have found other means of housing, and the semester is nearly over. The university has undoubtedly taken a financial hit due to the sudden loss of its apartment complex; so have, however, some of its students. Students that shouldn’t have to shoulder the costs of administration’s misjudgement in what serves as an adequate response to crisis.

Students don’t need Trinity to make new housing appear out of thin air or to provide guidance in finding apartments to live in seven months too late. Students deserve from the university what any good person does, regardless of circumstance — communication and help.