SEARCH 2000 Games

May 7, 2000
Students grumble over Olympic eviction

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Students at Weber State University aren't happy about being evicted from their dormitory rooms during the 2002 Winter Games.

"These are our homes, this is where we live. It's not like we can just pick up our stuff and go home," said Malinda Gallagher, a Wyoming native and resident's dorm assistant.

Students from more distant states and other countries could find themselves in a worse situation.

Shara Reinfurt, a resident's assistant from Germany, said she can afford only one round-trip airline trip home during a school year, and she buys that fare for Christmas.

Reinfurt says she may have to quit for at least a semester during the 2001-02 school year.

"I, for one, would rather take a longer Christmas break and come back after the Olympics," she said.

Utah State University in Logan and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City -- where an Olympic Village is being built -- also will suspend classes for 17 days in February 2002. Brigham Young University will schedule classes on a block system.

But Weber State plans to turn over 400 of 540 dormitory beds to the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for workers hired to help run the Games.

SLOC wanted every room available, but the university insisted on reserving 140 for students from out of state or other countries on a first-come, first-served basis, housing officials say.

Weber state has 226 foreign and out-of-state students.

During regular breaks, students can leave their personal belongings in their dorm rooms, but that convenience won't be available during the Olympics.

Anand Dyal-Chand, Weber State vice president for student affairs, said the university had to decide on these arrangements three years ago.

Some students could find a room with host families, he said.

But dorm resident Jill Vandermoortel doesn't like the idea of moving in with a family she doesn't know.

"This is our house and they're not treating it like that," Vandermoortel said.

Dyal-Chand said he doesn't believe the inconvenience will discourage students and reduce enrollment during the Olympic academic year.

"I think there will be a growing sense of excitement about the Olympics when students realize what a great educational experience it can be. I have to say in large measure, the students understand that they are part of something larger than themselves," he said.
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