April 22, 2016

Greek Students Fight to Keep Their Homes

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(Montpelier—April 22) “These houses provide the opportunity to build core relationships in college, they aren’t just a place to sleep” said University of Vermont junior Sarah Holmes about the pending revocation of tax exempt status for Greek housing in Burlington, VT.

This morning Holmes, a sister of Delta Delta Delta at the University of Vermont, along with Jason Maulucci, Student Government Association and student body President, and Andrew Dazzo, a brother of Phi Gamma Delta and SGA Senator, spoke to the Senate Finance committee at the Vermont Legislature to propose a plan that would benefit both the State, the University and the Greek community. Current bill H.725 places a sunset clause on the Greek Houses in Burlington’s tax-exempt status, stating they will no longer be tax exempt come fiscal year 2017. This would mean the Greek organizations on campus would no longer be able to afford their homes with a property tax ranging from $20,000 to $50,000, and they would be forced to sell, likely to UVM or Champlain College.

Holmes, Maulucci and Dazzo were accompanied by other members of Greek organizations, members of their Housing Corps and other lawmakers that have stake in the issue in order to try to save the homes of 200 students at UVM. The Finance committee drilled the students about exact numbers and activities that occur as result of these homes. The students fired back with eloquent answers about what value these homes hold, not only to the Greek community but to the Burlington community as well.

The bill is expected to be finalized within the next two weeks, according to committee Chair Tim Ashe. The finalized plan will determine the fate of these organizations and their homes.

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