The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, December 11, 1972, Page PAGE 4, Image 4

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Tenant troubles
As an enormous university in a mo derate-sized
city, UNL is both the source and recipient of troubles
in a good many areas. Those troubles, in addition to
being a source of irritation for the community as a
whole, may cause resentment against the University
community and especially its students.
Currently, this situation can be seen in tensions
created by Lincoln's housing situation and its relation
to students. In recent months, low-income groups and
tenants' organizations have complained that UNL
students have put a severe strain on the housing
market, driving up prices and making space
scarce-probably fair charges, on the whole.
In the past few years, rather than live in more
institutionalized habitats, an increasing number of
students have opted for more personal, less confining
apartment life. So, while enrollment has skyrocketed,
so has the demand for apartment dwellingr-while
demand for on-campus housing has remained fairly
All this, of course, makes the rent value of
off-campus housing much greater. With the high
demand for housing, some Lincoln landlords have
found that they have a sellers' market and that they
can have their way with student trade.
Oddly enough, it seems those who have been
ill-used by the landlord system are precisely those
who seem to be perpetuating the system. According
to UNL Ombudsman James Suter, problems in
housing often exist because students refuse to
complain or become involved with legal action against
those taking advantage of them.
A recent case in point was that of a nebulous
corporate structure which wrongfully deprived
students of their damage deposits. When checking
into the corporation, Suter found that all four men
listed on the board of directors had ficticious
addresses and the corporation operated from a Post
Office box. Yet, after asking for complaints against
the corporation in the Daily Nebraskan and receiving
13 replies, only one or two students could be
pursuaded to attend meetings to plan a class action
suit against the corporation.
v Desoite aoDarent lack of student concern; some
; efforts have been made to improve the situation.
AbUN s Legal Hights committee distributes a legal
rights handbook published in past years, is in the
process of conducting a landlord survey, and is
attempting to devise a standard lease contract for
students. Suter and a small number of students have
attempted reforms in many areas. Even the court
system has been made more responsive, with a small
claims court to open Jan. 1, 1973.
So the mechanisms for change do exist. But
change can come about only if those involved work
for it. And unless people who have been slighted by
unscrupulous landlords in a sellers market do
something about it, the situation could get a whole
lot worse. jjm Gray
Bill Freudenburg is a junior integrated
studies major in communications.
by Bill Freudenburg
Nebraska's environment may not seem
to be anything to worry about, but the
next few years are going to be critical in
determining the state's ecological future,
and the University is likely to play a
fairly important ro!? in deciding the route
that will be taken.
Universities traditionally have shown a
commitment to the improvement of the
world, and it only makes sense to include
the improvement of the environment as a
part of that concern.
A concern for the environment il
especially important for the University of
Nebraska, partly because Nebraska still
has a relatively healthy atmosphere, but
also because the University is the only
institution in the state with enough
resources to tackle some of the problems
that must be faced in order to protect
"the good life." The University's
attention is especially needed in these
1. Research. It's pretty obvious that
the University's research and expertise
can be of tremendgus benefit to the state,
particularly for agriculture, Nebraska's
biggest industry, The farmers of the state
need help in meeting pollution control
standards and in developing creative,
ecologically sound alternatives to present
2. No matter how much research is
done, the University will have failed
miserably if the students graduating from
it don't have an environmental awareness
and an understanding of the ways in
which their actions affect other human
3. Leadership. This University can't
afford to be an exception to the general
university tradition of leading the way
toward a better world. This institution
must set an example that deserves to be
It's not that the University has ignored
its obligations. A majority of the
members on the Steering Committee of
the Environmental Task Force are faculty
or administrative staff, and they have
given considerable help to the Task Force
this year. Howard Ottoson, Associate
Dean of the College of Agriculture, has
just completed an extensive, year-long
study, The Environment and the
University of Nebraska at the request of
President Varner.
The report goes into considerable
detail, and includes a recommendation
that an Environmental Resource Center
be established on the UNL campus. This
center would coordinate a large variety of
environmental activities, and would be an
important, needed improvement.
The Physical Plant Administration and
the University Grounds Department have
proved that the University's
environmental commitment is more than
just words. They have cooperated
extensively with the Environmental Task
Force in re-establishing recycling barrels
around the campus, and they have done a
stellar job of maintaining the barrels,
considering the problems involved,
Even though the University is not
asleep, much remains to be done. A
proposal for an Environmental Resrouce,
Center isn't nearly as important, as the
establishment of that Center. Newsprint
recycling barrels can serve as an excellent
example to the rest of the state, but they
don't eliminate the fact that the
University siiil causes considerable harm
to the environment.
The University's overall example is not
a very shiny one. The newsprint barrels
are a major step in the right direction, but
they represent only a stop gap measure; a
more extensive, long-range commitment
is needed.
It takes between one and two
thousand trees each' year just to supply
UNL with mimeograph paper. Tons upon
tons of paper, glass, metal and plastic are
used each year and end up permanently
filed at the Lincoln landfill dump. There
are too many things to list here that are
not what one would include in a "good
The University is doing many good
things, and it is aware of many of its
problems, But there's still a long way to
go before this institution stops creating
more harm than good for the
environment, and a longer way still 1
before it becomes the sort of example it
really must be, If the University doesn't
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diily nebraskan
page 4
monday, december 1 1, 1972
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