UW-Madison unveils plans to move Zoe Bayliss Co-op to Phillips Residence Hall despite concerns from leaders and residents
The Zoe Bayliss Women’s Co-op is the only remaining student housing co-op in the state of Wisconsin. As plans to build the new Levy Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison draw ever closer, the future of the co-op at its current location remains up in the air.
The new Levy Hall is part of the 2015 master campus planand requires the demolish Zoe Bayliss Co-Op and Davis Residence Hall. This means residents of the co-op, which has been independent since 1954, will need to find a space to move to.
Although university relations specialist Greg Bump said talks between the university and the co-op have been going on for years to find solutions, it hasn’t been easy to get there.
Angela Maloney, president of the co-op, said they weren’t officially told they were being expelled after the 2022-23 school year until fall 2021.
“Initially, the University had no plan to compensate our community or provide us with what they were displacing,” Maloney said.
She cited an email she received from a college housing representative, telling her to “look for space on the private market [and that] there are no on-campus options.
UW Housing eventually offered them a space in Phillips Hall, according to an April 11 email statement from assistant vice chancellor for university communications John Lucas. The plan would be to renovate part of the first floor to make it suitable for a co-op community, with space for 34 residents.
Bump explained that the arrangement would work similarly to the arrangement with their current building, with financial power over things like setting rental rates, rental agreements and hiring a private chef.
The co-op ultimately voted against accepting this proposal, which Maloney clarified as including a $20,000 rent price increase for a 9-month period. She also pointed out that the co-op had been told there was only a “60% chance the space would be ready for fall 2023.”
Since Zoe Bayliss’ current rent is 48% of on-campus dormitory rates, raising the price was prohibited, Maloney said. Among other important aspects for Zoe Bayliss is their own self-contained building, where they can have full control over finances and decisions as a community, as they have in their current location.
University Housing said it has no plans to move forward with plans to renovate Phillips Hall into a co-op-style community, whether Zoe Bayliss ultimately decides to go to Phillips or not.
“UW-Madison has no plans or obligation to provide other alternative housing options for this group of students,” the university said.
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Maloney, while detailing discussions with the university, reported that she and others were told in meetings with housing to be ‘not so emotional’ when discussing plans for the future. of the cooperative.
“Housing reps went months without returning our emails,” Maloney continued. “It wasn’t until, as president of Zoe Bayliss, I took the initiative to set up meetings with housing leaders to make them understand the importance of maintaining our community that they even started to come up with all sorts of alternatives.”
Zoe Bayliss continues to call on the university to provide space for them to replace their building, or at least funding to help the co-op find space in the private market for the community.
“Our discussions with university housing have been incredibly frustrating,” Maloney said. “Our community deserves better than this.”
Zoe Bayliss supporters can get involved by signing the petition to save the co-op, as well as attend a community meeting and fundraiser at the Zoe Bayliss building on April 26 at 6 p.m.
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