Op-ed: The condition of my bicycle isn’t any of student housing’s business

Bike thieves have got to be one of the most galling collections of people that operate in our society. This is particularly relevant to students here at UBC. Many of us are all too aware of the constant paranoia that plagues bike owners — one day they will go to get on their bicycle and it’ll be gone — maybe a broken, overpriced bike lock will be remain, but that just serves as a visual reminder of your absent possession. Pretty much everyone with a bike here goes to great lengths to keep it safe. A bike has monetary value, something we as students have to be especially wary of, but it is more than that, it’s your way around campus, an ever-present companion that many will feel distraught to be without. To have it stolen is heartbreaking and infuriating.

However, I’m not writing this to complain about conventional bike thieves: there’s a new threat to bikes on campus. The ever-dependable and amicable SHHS (Student Housing and Hospitality Services) has devised a new inconvenience for students living in residence (at least in Fairview) -- or perhaps resurrected an old one (I doubt this is the first year of the practice.) If SHHS deems your bike to be in vaguely described “poor condition” they will stick a label on it. You might be thinking ‘that doesn’t sound too annoying’ but here’s the kicker: if you don’t remove this tag and call SHHS and report the code on the label within a week, your bike will be taken. I assume this means they will cut your expensive bike lock that you bought to protect it from thieves. You then have one month to reclaim your bike, although your lock is probably beyond repair, before it is gone permanently.

While it is only a removal of a tag and a phone call to protect your bike, even this is inconvenient, another unnecessary thing to worry about in our busy lives. Furthermore, the email to notify residents of this process was sent out only one day prior to the start of the tagging. Dealing with these nagging issues is not what we pay for when we live on rez, but the worrying thing is that we are getting used to these invasive practices because they are so commonplace. We’ve paid our rent so please let us live in our houses in peace.