Students express off-campus housing safety concerns


first_img“Part of the scope of this [renovation] project included removing dated security bars from the property and replacing them with a Ring Doorbell and Floodlight camera system on the exterior of the property, giving residents more knowledge and control over who has access to their home when they are not there,” the statement read. In the email screenshot posted to Facebook, Juraso said the property owner was “well aware” of the incident, and “their stance remained firm.” The post was taken off of the page Thursday. Rusher alleged Jurasko reported the post for harassment and it was subsequently deleted. “Security bars are not promised anywhere in the lease and as a property management company, we never imply or promise the safety of our residents,” the email read. “I think the email was hostile and unnecessary for one, just to say that they don’t ensure the safety of residents with … but especially callous, insensitive given the recent incident,” Rusher said. “Even though I don’t know the specific details, I feel like it was understandable for us to request safety measures, especially those that were included when we first signed the lease, such as safety bars.” In addition to a new security system, the housing company said it is installing new fences to replace the original security system. Rusher, who is majoring in international relations global business,  said the email dismissed the safety concerns of Mosaic residents. In the Facebook group, the company’s statement was met with harsh criticism. Rusher’s post accrued over 180 comments from students, many of whom shared similar experiences. The post was removed from the page Thursday. When junior Keala Rusher discovered off-campus property management company Mosaic Student Community wasn’t going to reinstall safety bars on her windows, she had concerns. In the comments, many students wrote that they experienced difficulty with Mosaic’s maintenance of utilities, including the air conditioning, and other residents complained of being forced to live in smaller “closet-like” rooms. Students complained in a USC Facebook group after Mosaic Student Housing removed window safety bars from its houses. (Photo courtesy of Mosaic Student Housing) According to Rusher, the incident began when her housemate, Alejandro Gonzalez, a senior majoring in aerospace engineering, asked for security bars to be replaced on the window after they were taken off for renovations and repairs to the building.center_img In response to the allegations, Mosaic released a statement addressing the renovations and student concerns. DPS Assistant Chief David Carlisle said that students should consider the safety measures in place before deciding to lease with certain off-campus housing companies. Carlisle said checking the location and security amenities of properties can help students feel safer. Students encouraged Rusher to contact the Department of Public Safety with safety concerns and legal counsel for representation. Rusher said that following the recent death of student Victor McElhaney during a robbery attempt near campus, security and well-being became an important concern for her and her housemates. “Mosaic built a small house in the backyard of the house that we are currently leasing and … they re-painted the exterior of our house and in order to do that they had to take off the security bars that were already on the windows,” Rusher said. “They almost moved me into a literal closet-sized room despite the floor plans suggesting otherwise,” one student commented. “Renovations include … [a] repainting the exterior of the home and adding security fencing between the front of the house and the back of the property,” the statement read. She posted a screenshot of the email exchange between her housemate and property manager Courtney Jurasko in the “USC Memes for Spoiled Pre Teens” Facebook group. “If a student feels unsafe, we would be happy to do a quick security assessment of the facility,” Carlisle said. “But, if it is a privately owned properly, the owner has no obligation to conform to what we recommend. But, students can make recommendations.”last_img

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