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Contract violations force STRIPES to relocate

Its office has been empty since early July, but the organization plans to resume operations today.
Thursday, September 4, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 2:35 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 14, 2008

Since early July, all the phones, furniture, file cabinets and even a big-screen television belonging to Supportive Tigers in Pursuit of Ensuring Safety have sat in limbo, unused in assistant director Melanie Lambert’s garage.

“I didn’t expect everything to be here for so long,” she said.

STRIPES, an MU program that for the past two years has provided students rides home from bars and parties, was previously housed in College Park Apartments, now known as Campus View Apartments. The organization, however, wasn’t allowed to renew its yearly lease this summer, director Mike Brown said, because it failed to uphold a publicity agreement with owners of the apartment complex.

“The apartment (at Campus View) was donated with stipulations,” Brown said. “There were promises with advertising we made that were not held up.”

A spokeswoman for Campus View declined to comment on the issue.

STRIPES this week relocated to 1002 Ashwood Apartments and will start operations today with 250 volunteers.

When STRIPES was founded in the fall of 2001, Campus View donated an apartment to be used as its headquarters. In return, STRIPES was to follow the publicity agreement for sponsors donating $6,000 or more. This included printing the donating business’ logo on print ads, business cards, banners, T-shirts and lights atop STRIPES cars, as well as mentioning the business in television or radio spots.

Brown said Campus View representatives mentioned no single violation when citing the group’s failure to follow the agreement. STRIPES’ lease expired June 30.

“There was poor communication between us and College Park,” Brown said.

Lambert agreed, saying STRIPES never has kept in consistent contact with sponsors and often relies on verbal contracts with businesses.

Brown said there was also a “lack of internal memory” at STRIPES because positions shifted as people graduated and left.

In addition to relocating, STRIPES lost a sponsorship from Sprint, which Lambert said provided free cellular phones, calling minutes and long-distance service. Until Lambert finds a new cellular phone provider, volunteers will use their own.

STRIPES hopes to establish a more formal relationship with sponsors by meeting regularly with them and ensuring all contracts are in writing, Brown said.

“The key is maintaining constant open lines of communications,” he said.

On Monday, Lambert, Brown and other STRIPES executives moved the mass of equipment from Lambert’s garage into the new program headquarters at Ashwood Apartments.

Lambert said the location of the new headquarters, across Ashland Road from the Trowbridge parking area, is convenient.

“The volunteers who live on campus will be able to walk or take the bus to the apartment,” she said.

Christy Gregory, property manager at Ashwood Apartments, called STRIPES “a wonderful organization.” That’s why she decided to provide the group with a two-bedroom apartment at a discount rate of $500 a month.

Brown said he never doubted STRIPES would get back on its feet.

“It’s a good thing this happened over the summer when we weren’t running,” he said.


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