Housing debate compromise ends drawn out, bitter conflict

Kernel Editorial Board

After months of political twisting and turning, a deal has finally been reached.

Thursday, UK Student Government and the city agreed on an off-campus housing proposal that would not allow more than six students per off-campus residence, instead of the four-person limit proposed by the city, according to a March 25 Kernel article.

Though the final verdict will not be decided by late April or May, having the two sides agree in principle shows just how far the debate has come in the past six months.

The housing debate has teetered as close to a full-scale war as a debate can be. Since September, when the city unveiled plans to change the current housing plan, both sides have done their fair share of blame-shifting and finger-pointing to make sure their side walks away with the spoils.

“If we hadn’t reached a compromise, it could’ve been worse,” SG President Ryan Smith said. “There’s pressure from different city and neighborhood organizations, which could’ve pushed the number much lower than six and displaced a lot of students.”

Even though students could potentially have been displaced by the plan, the responsibility of the city is to make sure students are safe, and also treated fairly as Lexington residents. Luckily it will not come to that.

“I feel very positive about it,” Third District Councilwoman Diane Lawless said. “I feel it’s fair to everybody and good for the community.”

Let’s hope this will serve as a lesson to future council members and SG presidents on how to handle such a major issue.

To their credit, SG organized and mobilized students, preparing them to participate in rallies and marches on city hall. Generally speaking, students are considered to be apathetic about everything, including the issues that affect them the most.

Meanwhile, the city council had to be constantly reminded how important students are to Lexington and had to be constantly pushed to remember the students.

In order for both sides to properly discuss the issues, there cannot be underlying issues or goals that permeate through the media and the minds of the affected parties.

At the end of the day, even if the motivations were to help make students living situations more tenable, the perception was completely different and going forward, the city must acknowledge the “bad guy” — in this case was the landlords — before going after students.

It’s one thing to help a student out. It’s another to push them out. Hopefully, the difference between the two is clear now.