The University of Memphis students who live at the Gather on Southern were left both relieved and concerned when the University of Memphis announced their plan to obtain the property.Â
UofM President M. David Rudd said the university is not purchasing the complex directly but would like to invest in the near future.
â€œWeâ€™re not purchasing the Gather,â€ Rudd said. â€œWeâ€™re pursuing a partnership to manage the Gather that eventually transitions ownership to the university.â€
After a particularly crime-heavy early winter that worried residents, UofM is partnering with the complex to find a solution by trying to make the campus safer in the area. Â
Rudd is currently working with the Gather complex to regulate the UofMâ€™s role in the property. He also wants to create security for students attending the college as part of an academic plan.
â€œThe primary goal is to expand our housing inventory, with related academic programming,â€ Rudd said. â€œStudents that live in university housing perform better academically, are retained at higher rates and graduate in more timely fashion and at higher rates.â€
Providing university housing can help students perform well academically. Rudd said he plans to expand the universityâ€™s living arrangements to keep students on track for graduation. Â
Biology pre-dental major Quillie Brabham found out about the UofM partnership with Gather on Southern facility from the news coverage.
â€œI was notified of this by constant sightings of FOX13 news on the campus of Gather on Southern,â€ Brabham said. â€œConstantly seeing news trucks prompted me to do research, (which is how I) saw the purchase on the news.â€
Brabham said he witnessed a lot of the media covering the story about the crime and changes being made at the complex. As a resident, he said he thinks getting the UofM involved can benefit students.
Â â€œI believe this is an excellent idea to make the facility safer and improve the overall living experience at Gather on Southern.â€
The Gather on Southern has become an unsafe environment for those living in the area. Brabham said he also experienced crime while staying in the complex.
â€œI experienced crime on a consistent bases, which is expected by living in the city of Memphis, but never should be in such close proximity to campus,â€ Brabham said. â€œIâ€™ve had many experiences of shots being heard from my apartment, friendsâ€™ cars being broken into.â€Â
Because of safety concerns, Rudd, along with other city officials, are trying to create regulations, including limitations on alcohol for the complex. Brabham said he thinks removing off-campus freedom would not benefit the students.
â€œAny changes that will remove the liberty from the students at Gather on Southern should not be performed,â€ Brabham said. â€œA benefit of the Gather is that you have close proximity to campus with the freedom of off campus regulations.â€
Public relations major Mariah Wallace said she thinks it is a good idea for the Gather apartments to partner with UofM.
â€œI think this a great effort because the Gather is not good at taking care of their students, and our safety above all is important,â€ Wallace said. â€œThere needs to be something done about it besides how the Gather goes around emailing how sorry they are, but they havenâ€™t taken enough action.â€
Wallace said she has experienced crime at the apartment and said she thinks more regulations by the university would cause less problems. She also said she encourages Rudd to think of the studentsâ€™ safety as a concern for others.
â€œI would like to tell President Rudd to please purchase the Gather and make us feel important just like our campus that loves us because clearly the Gather under Cardinal Management does not,â€ Wallace said.