Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Students riot at The Boulders to protest living conditions

By Morning Wood Staff

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(Elvert Barnes/Flickr)

(Elvert Barnes/Flickr)

By Equa Strian

Nearly 100 students incited a riot Wednesday morning at The Boulders Apartment Homes in Amherst in an uproar over escalating prices and poor living conditions.

The incident began following The Boulders’ annual rent increase, which was slated to raise prices on a two-bedroom apartment by another $1,500 per month, bringing the price to more than $2,500 not including utilities.

“I’ve lived here for three years, and with each lease renewal the number increases even more,” said Morgan Wesley, a senior studying finance at the University of Massachusetts. “There’s never any explanation and never any improvement in service. Living on the outskirts of town was supposed to be a deal. I might as well move to the Honors College if I’m going to pay these prices.”

In the past several months, the complex has experienced a number of problems and a lack of solutions that have angered residents.

For example, in September, an unknown individual came upon the complex and slashed the tires on more than two dozen vehicles, causing thousands of dollars in damage before the police were called.

Similarly, feuds between residents have led to cut brake lines, keyed vehicles and theft.

“You know, if the University would just let us have Hoverboards, we wouldn’t be dealing with car problems on top of high rent,” Wesley added.

“When the complex rakes in literally hundreds of thousands of dollars per month, there is no reason why the managers can’t invest a few thousand in security cameras like almost every other complex or business,” said Mike Williams, a junior studying communications at UMass.

“There’s really no need for cameras,” added Jennifer Ford, manager of The Boulders. “This is a very safe community. You’re paying to live here, not park a car.”

In protest, residents took to spray painting graffiti on the buildings and vandalizing the staff’s vehicles, to the point that they would need to be towed from the property. Although the police were called, witnesses were unwilling to talk and without cameras there was no way to tell who committed the crimes.

Other residents stole the maintenance workers’ golf carts and raced around the complex.

“Maintenance here is terrible,” Wesley added. “It doesn’t take any talent to be a maintenance worker when they Band-Aid problems to save the complex money, as opposed to fixing a problem for the safety and well-being of the residents.”

Wesley cited rotting beams, black mold in the laundry rooms and a number of broken lights among the problems ignored by management. The Boulders promotes a homey feel with a lived-in quality however some residents think they take that statement too far.

Other residents expressed frustration over confusing policies.

“In our lease, it says that smoking or having candles in your apartment is prohibited, which I can understand,” said May Welsh, a sophomore studying comparative literature at UMass. “Then, a few months ago we got a notice encouraging indoor smoking to prevent cigarette butts outside. Not only does that violate the pre-existing lease agreement, but it seems that management would prefer to risk burning down a building than to spend money on ash trays.”

After the rioters dispersed and the police arrived, thousands of dollars in damage was left behind.

“I hope that this gets the point across to management that we’re not happy and they need to start listening to our input,” said Williams. Williams added that he would like to see student residents separated from families, believing that it would settle tensions between the two factions if they didn’t live in the same buildings.

“As college students, we’re stereotyped as being rowdy,” said Wesley. “But I’ve heard more noise from families with screaming children while I’m trying to study or even sleep than from drunken students. Plus, it’s not fair that none of the kids’ Barbie Jeeps have been vandalized. Someone is definitely targeting students.”

Another idea Williams expressed was putting together a residential advisory board that would consist equally of students and families alike, and would serve to manage the complex’s spending.

“Basically, right now living in an apartment complex is exactly like an oligarchy where the lucky few reap all the benefits,” he said. “The idea of ‘Give us your money or get out’ is unacceptable when what you pay and what you get in return as so disparate.”

Equa Strian can be reached at your local rodeo and followed home on the range.

Editor’s note: The following article is purely meant for satirical purposes and does not at all reflect the quality or cost of The Boulders. All articles dated April 1, 2016 that are authored by “Morning Wood Staff” are a part of our April Fool’s Edition, Morning Wood, and are all fictional.

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