College News Roundup

Harvard

Harvard Furthers Allston Plans

On March 1, Harvard went public about an offer to obtain the land occupied by the Charlesview Apartments, a key site for the initial designs of the university's Allston campus.

In exchange for the land on which the current apartment complex is situated, Harvard has offered five acres of the Brighton Mills Shopping Center and funding to build low-income housing on the proffered site.

This is Harvard's third offer placed before the Charlesview Board of Directors and the first that the board has agreed to formally review. Chair of the Board Abraham Halbfinger called the proposal "the best Harvard has come up with so far."

But the board does not formally represent Charlesview tenants, and some tenants are not so happy about the offer.

"Everyone seems to have to take the backseat to the desires of the university, who thinks that nothing can go forward until they have this Charlesview property. Now they're back trying to take another bite of the apple," said Allston resident Paul Creighton at a meeting on March 2 between university officials and affected residents.

According to Harvard Director of Community Relations Kevin McCluskey, conversations between the university and residents of both Charlesview and Brighton will continue and the offer is by no means final.

 

U. of Miami

Janitors Strike for Unionization

Last week, nearly 50 classes at the University of Miami were held off campus, some even in professors' homes.

These alternative locations were chosen by faculty in an attempt to support the university's janitors, who walked off the job Tuesday night after voting to strike the Sunday before, claiming that their employer, the UNICCO Service Company, had interfered with their attempts to unionize.

The night-shift workers were the first to strike, followed by the workers in dormitories and the athletic center. Those who work in the medical facility may follow.

According to UNICCO spokesman Doug Bailey, UNICCO has negotiated 124 union contracts with workers. He questioned the use of pledge cards by Service Employees International Union, which has been attempting to unionize the workers for eight months, to gauge worker support for unionization as opposed to having them take a vote.

Although the janitors are not contracted to the University of Miami, both the university and its president, Donna E. Shalala, have been criticized for the janitorial workers' low pay and lack of health care benefits.

"There is a bit of a sense that the administration isn't taking this seriously yet," Michael Fischl, a law professor at the university and a staunch supporter of the janitors, told the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The strike comes nearly five years after faculty and students voted to increase janitorial pay.

 

Pace

Takeout by Text Message Comes to Pace

As of Feb. 27, Pace University students can now order takeout via text messages.

This new opportunity has been offered to the university by Mobo Systems, a company whose mission is to allow customers to make purchases using mobile devices.

Pace is not the only university to receive Mobo Systems' services. The company was founded by Yale alumnus Noah Glass '03 at a coffee shop on the New Haven campus and has steadily moved to other universities. If implementation at Pace succeeds, Mobo could extend to NYU as well.

"Time is precious," Glass told the Yale Daily News of his reasons for starting the company. "By letting students pre-pay and pre-order, Mobo takes a bit of the hassle and stress out of everyday college life."

The popular Panini & Co. is the first restaurant available with the new service, and students had the opportunity to receive a $5 credit at the eatery if they registered for Mobo's services within the past week.

Pace's Student Government Association President Reggie Thomas is enthusiastic about the new Mobo service.

"[Once] members of the Pace community try this out, they will fall in love with it," he told the Pace Press.

But not all students shared his excitement.

"It sounds like a good idea but not for me," Ainsworth McCalla '09 told the Press.

Mobo Systems hopes next to allow customers to text-order movie tickets and taxis and to text-pay at parking meters.

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