Westminster Housing --- W-T-F?!?!

<p>
[quote]
A large random, sample of any population will be largely representative of the majority. Berkeley is no different, and for the most part my meetings with people have been largely random.

[/quote]

Nice try. Unless you have no patterns in your life at all, your encounters are nothing close to a random survey.</p>

<p>Let's take a step back away from the hornet's nest, shall we?</p>

<p>As an upperclassman at Berkeley, I've seen my friends run the gamut of religious beliefs: I've met people who have spent hours and hours at church as a kid, only to go some soul-searching and logically and rationally decide that the evidence isn't strong enough to justify devoting their lives to serving their respective religion. On the other hand, I've met many a people who wouldn't know a Bible from the Kama Sutra who are now happy as clams, at spiritual peace at their church, synagogue, mosque, or what have you.</p>

<p>That's just a microcosm of what Berkeley, and indeed, what college in general, is all about, isn't it? Learning about the world, learning about others, and ultimately learning about yourself. The key to that path, wherever it may be, is to have an open mind. Unfortunately, it seems to me that many parties in this particular conversation could use a refresher. To be loathe to living at WHouse because of its Christian foundations is indeed closed-minded. If you are determined not to allow yourself to consider Christianity (or anything else, for that matter) without giving the religion a fair shot at presenting itself in a reasonable light, then more power to you, but you surely cannot take the intellectual or moral high ground. How can you get the full picture if you're averse to debating with "someone who's deepest convictions unwaveringly revolve around the arbitrary writings of an ancient book. "? Likewise, if a Christian is unwilling to experience the world for oneself, strictly quarantining himself from the sins and temptations of the world, then he isn't doing justice to himself or his religion. Free flow of information and ideas is what a university is all about, and you should act accordingly.</p>

<p>I will not make a blanket assumption about who is in general nicer, Christians or non-Christians, but I will say that of the people I've met over the past couple years, Christians do tend to be more polite and well-tempered. Because it does not specifically address everyone on the campus, does it make my observation irrelevant? Of course not. It is by no means conclusive, but it is by no means conclusively wrong, either. In this case, I believe DIOGENES' assertion is quite reasonable, and to complain about how (s)he's unqualified to make said assertion because he doesn't know the majority of the student body reeks of hypersensitivity.</p>

<p>FYI, I am a practicing moderate Christian with conservative leanings. However, I lived in the LGBT theme dorm section, where anti-Christian sentiment wasn't infrequent. Despite the fact that my church frowns upon homosexuality, I cannot say that living amongst people with radically different viewpoints was a bad thing in any way. It doesn't matter if my viewpoint changed or was reinforced. But now I definitely know more than many other Christians about those horrible, horrible gays that are ravaging our family value system (said with tongue in cheek), and I'm the better for it. So, using the converse, in my experience, an atheist living in a Christian-themed building could in fact be greatly beneficial to everyone involved.</p>

<p>I think that was a good post. My problem with DIOGENES was that he/she kept claiming things about "most of Berkeley." I'm not hypersensitive, but merely thinking about that for a moment would lead one to conclude how it is a poor judgement. I simply ask that people not claim things that they obviously do not know. I simply ask for accuracy, instead of "most," "most that I've met" seems sensible. What you said, "of the people I've met," seems intelligent and is accurate from what you know to be true. DIOGENES was inflexible.</p>

<p>As to whether Christians or non-Christians are generally nicer, I do not know. From what I've experienced, they're essentially the same.</p>

<p>Diogenes, I did not mean to offend you or anyone else with my initial post, and it was indeed written in a somewhat heat of the moment mentality. As I've stated before, I have nothing against anybody of any religion, and I never meant to imply that a Christian could not "further my studies or enrich my mind" as I put it... There are plenty of religious people who are no doubt far more intelligent, open minded, and kinder hearted than me. Through their meditations on life, they have managed to come to a different conclusion about the way of things, and there is nothing wrong with that. I have no qualms about discussing these matters with a follower of any religion, and I personally know quite a few excellent, accomplished people of most of the major faiths. </p>

<p>My main point was that I felt upset that Westminster housing had not stated anything to me about being owned by a Christian organization. It has nothing to do with the friendliness of Christians, or the amount of Christians who may or may not be living in the WHouse. It has to do with WHouse failing to make what I view as pertinent information readily available to its potential tenants. I'm not loath to living in WHouse because of its Christian foundations, I'm loath to living there because I wasn't informed about them before I put my deposit down. If it came down to it, I'd rather my money support the school (dorms) rather than a church (WHouse). That was my main complaint. I did not intend to open up a can of worms with my comments. And in all honesty, I don't truly consider myself an Athiest, but more of an Agnostic. I made the Athiest statement just to get my point across. To me, insisting that God doesn't exist is not any more sensible than insisting God does exist. There is no objective way to prove either statements, and there is no way any of us will ever truly know for sure until we die. I hope this clears things up a bit...</p>

<p>"It has to do with WHouse failing to make what I view as pertinent information readily available to its potential tenants."</p>

<p>-> After my original post, do you now understand why this can't happen, why it would've been illegal had Westminster House shared such information?</p>

<p>With that said, i think he got screwed over. Maybe you can ask for the deal to be rescinded?</p>

<p>Unfortunately, the law doesn't care about what one "thinks." WHOUSE did everything right. If a deal is to be reached whereby the party in question (the Original Poster) is to back out of the agreement, it's going to be hinged on the good graces of management as opposed to finding fault on the part of WHOUSE. Has this entire thread been all for naught?</p>

<p>actually it does, leaving out significant and "material" information is a basis for a voidable contract. imagine if the sales guy at the house said it was a christian house? would the op still have gone through with it? </p>

<p>with that said, i don't know the exact legal nuances but this is straight from my biz law class; however, i do know that what they did seems wrong in a morale sense- especially more so in the contex that it is after all a "Christian House." </p>

<p>To those christian posters, imagine if you signed up for housing with a history of Muslim Activities and a population of a significant number of muslims and a larger number of those interested in Islam. Would it be fair for the sales reps to not disclose that information?</p>

<p>1.) I will admit that it does seem strange that the Christian WHouse website has a link on the Contact page to the housing WHouse website, but not vice-versa. It seems to me that the Christian-themed events and philosophies in the Christian WHouse website are simply optional programs put on by the WHouse administration. Ergo, it is not a "Christian house", per se, simply a normal apt complex that will from time to time hold Christian-themed events. In my opinion, I don't see why they wouldn't allow you to back out if you told them that you do not feel like it would be in your best interests, and you point out how the housing website did not give you the correct impression. It's not like WHouse is going to have problems finding someone to take your spot. Just be courteous when you talk to them about it, because they can just as easily be hypersensitive about heathens not willing to convert :-P.</p>

<p>2.) Reachin4thestars: I was placed in LGBT theme dorm without my consent or knowledge. Is it fair for the sales reps (or, in this case, Cal ResHalls) to not disclose this information? Maybe, maybe not. Is it within my rights to ask for a transfer to another dorm due to religious beliefs (despite the homophobic stigma therein)? Maybe, maybe not. Whatever the case, I'm glad I did not switch out. What I'm suggesting from my experience, therefore, is that while you may be entitled to back out of your contract, it might be an enlightening year if you stuck around in foreign territory, plus you get the perks of living a block from campus.</p>

<p>If this is not your cup of tea (and I can fully understand if it isn't), however, I strongly believe that they will be very understanding if and when you bring it up with the WHouse folks.</p>

<p>Oh no. I took Business Law AND US History, too.
<a href="http://www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/FHLaws/index.cfm%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/FHLaws/index.cfm&lt;/a> (choose any of the links on this page- they all work for the purposes of this discussion) Per Pookdogg's post, I will add for everyone that this is not a lesson in logic; it's the law. If you look at the link, there are some <em>biggie</em> acts that were instrumental in the Civil Rights Movement. Have we really slipped 50 years back so that some posters here can try to argue something so painfully fought over once before?</p>

<p>Regards,
TTG</p>

<p>
[quote]
It seems to me that the Christian-themed events and philosophies in the Christian WHouse website are simply optional programs put on by the WHouse administration. Ergo, it is not a "Christian house", per se, simply a normal apt complex that will from time to time hold Christian-themed events.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>That is EXACTLY how WHouse functions.</p>

<p>what on earth does this have to do with discrimination. it's your logic that is misconstrued here. if it were the case that the op DIDN't get a spot 'cause he was an athiest then your argument would hold merit. here however is a clear case of promissory estoppel (fraud). the point is if there WHouse is a pull for many christians then i think they should at least inform you that "a lot of people who live here take part in blah blah blah"</p>

<p>also, to the poster that lived in the LGBT house that is admirable, if you are straight. while i don't consider myself to be exactly homophobic, i doubt i would WANT to live there. there is a difference between tolerating a situation (let's say 50% of your co-workers are gay) and accepting something that you don't to be a part of. honestly, i doubt i could find myself to go through a year of living at the LGBT as i m sure many other people would. it's not the fact that people are homophobic its jus that why would you wanna do that if you dont think its going to be at the very least, uncomfortable.</p>

<p>I guess 50 years is a long time...</p>

<p>Anti-discrimination laws are not designed as a legal course for action after the fact; rather, they are designed to pre-emptively protect citizens against discriminatory practices. I challenge you, Reachin4thestars, to look into this matter further and consider how the situation would've constituted "discrimination" had the management team openly provided that information. (Seriously consider this scenario before making another post.)</p>

<p>Your bringing up the Promissory Estoppel clause here bears no relevance for two reasons. First, this is only applicable to cases where one party knowingly provides misinformation and the other party (the plaintiff) bases his/her decisions on that claim. Secondly (or perhaps, firstly), promissory estoppel is a means of enforcement of a promise, it is a measure enacted by the plaintiff to have the original party (here, WHOUSE) go through on a promise. By signing a deposit, the OP and WHOUSE entered into an agreement. An example would be if WHOUSE were to proceed to rent the OP's apartment out to another individual, and the OP's response to claim what is rightfully his (the apartment) would be known as promissory estoppel. Your definition for promissory estoppel- "Fraud"- aside from being an incorrect definition of P.E., is doubly incorrect in that fraud, in legal terms, is an intentional deception that results into injury ("injury" does cover financial loss). Again, WHOUSE did not produce any fraudulent claims. They talked with the OP regarding his room (the only place binding in the rental agreement, apart from public areas), showed that it was a nice place to live, and answered all questions the OP may have asked to the best of their ability.</p>

<p>Again, all of this is beside the point considering the thread should have ended after Post 4. The only thing that matters is whether or not the OP gained something from this, in particular, his understanding of where he stands on this issue in terms of the legality of WHOUSE's actions during the rental process.</p>

<p>you forget that "leaving out material information" also is fraud, especially where that information would have caused the OP to not have signed the contract. period. </p>

<p>applying your definiton of anti-discriminatory laws, the OP's situation has nothing to do with discrimination as it's basically about him not having all the material information that allowed him to come to an unsatisfactory agreement.</p>

<p>but my point from the beginning was, he got screwed over. period. I wonder how you would respond if you were to be in a similar situation.</p>

<p>Wow, you are unbelievable. </p>

<p>Ok, I really didn't want for it to come to this but alas, I must play out one of my classic role-playing scenarios.</p>

<p>Here's a situation with a prospective tenant who has just seen the WHOUSE ad on the internet. Everything looks good and she wishes to see the place. She calls up the manager and arranges for a meeting. Swell. The manager shows her the room, the bathroom, and the common areas. The tour leads them back to the lobby. I must add that the woman is wearing a Hijab, a veil worn by Muslim women, a clear indication that the prospective buyer is of different creed.</p>

<p>Woman: I really like the place.
Manager: Yes, it's a great place to live. I'd just like to point out that 60% of residents here belong to the Church.
Woman: That's fine with me, I'm very friendly and tolerant of all peoples.
Manager: Yes, the residents here are very friendly people. We really like the group of people we've got and we enjoy each other's company. We just want to make sure any prospective renter understands that, that's all.
Woman: I do, indeed. Do you have anything else to share? Is it too soon to start talking about the terms?
Manager: Well, how about you think it over for a bit and come back with a decision. We want to keep our options open and we hope to have other people come in and check out the place as well.</p>

<p>What just transpired would be considered discrimination. A rental agreement only documents the places which are being rented out, which is the room and all public spaces. What other people do next door is not the renter's business, unless the potential renter specifically asks the question and the answer is public information. What the renter does behind his own door is not the manager's business unless it's against apartment policy. When one adds a statement such as the above, it constitutes religious preference, because now the Woman's decision is no longer based strictly on the quality of the room, but she must decide whether or not she is willing to rent the place due to other circumstances that were unduly placed upon her; in particular, it forces her to put her religion on trial, so to speak. "Is it worth it for me to live here with all of these Christians?" has replaced "Is a $900 rent manageable for me?" This is not for the management to intervene and this is exactly what anti-discrimination housing laws were intended to prevent from happening. Keep in mind that I've kept the dialogue above very clean and extremely subtle- this is the best case scenario (in terms of harshness) of a wide spectrum of rental discrimination whose other end I do not even want to fathom. Your appeals for emotion, ie "put yourself in his situation," fails to move me because I know the law, and you can be sure such silly tactics do not supersede the Federal Acts and Presidential Executive Orders unless, perhaps, you were a writer on "Law & Order." The problem with the OP is that he did not ask enough questions or else he would've gotten his answer. He should've done some extra homework either (1) by learning standard procedures of apartment hunting, including what are appropriate questions to ask; or (2) he should've researched further into Westminster House. His ignorance is his own burden to bear- why should WHOUSE have to pay (literally) for doing everything that is legally right in their powers? </p>

<p>Once again, you attempt to toss around Business Law terminologies without having a firm handle as to their meaning. To my understanding, the term "material information" is almost exclusively used in the realm of investor relations, where "material information" must be disclosed because of its financial implications on the investor. Luckily for you, I think I know what you're trying to say. Unfortunately, dispension of information regarding the creed of one population of an apartment complex would not be considered pertinent information for discussion, because it is illegal in the first-degree due to anti-discrimination laws' status as federal orders. If it is illegal to divulge the creed of individuals or populations at-large in rental engagements, what makes it legally right for WHOUSE to do so? Is WHOUSE above the law? Or would you like WHOUSE to be above the law, but for just one second, so as you can benefit from the information they provide? Put simply, voluntarily sharing such information is off-limits. "Material information," or what have you, are OBLIGATIONS on the part of management to disclose deficiencies about the apartment that were not previously indicated on any advertisement and/or information of some notables that could be potentially harmful, like asbestos. Again, these are topics specifically related to the condition of the apartment, itself. I'll also add once more (this might be the fourth time), that had the OP done his homework and asked for the breakdown of religious preferences among the residents, this would be legal.</p>

<p>Because you made me moderately angry (I've really tried to be patient), I will add these links for kicks:</p>

<p><a href="http://www.apartments.com/LegalInfo.htm#EOH%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.apartments.com/LegalInfo.htm#EOH&lt;/a>
<a href="http://www.apartmentguide.com/about/eho.asp?wsv_qsSessionID=5711054&wsv_qsListType=1&wsv_qsPartner=-1&wsv_qsGeoKey=&wsv_qsKeyword=&wsv_qsRegisteredFlag=0&wsv_qsBrowseStatus=0&wsv_qsSearchStatus=0&wsv_qsReferringURL=&wsv_qsSCartStatus=0&wsv_qsLowPrice=&wsv_qsHighPrice=&wsv_qsBR=&wsv_qsTerm=&wsv_qsAdvancedSearch=&wsv_qsNoAreas=&wsv_qsSFlg=%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.apartmentguide.com/about/eho.asp?wsv_qsSessionID=5711054&wsv_qsListType=1&wsv_qsPartner=-1&wsv_qsGeoKey=&wsv_qsKeyword=&wsv_qsRegisteredFlag=0&wsv_qsBrowseStatus=0&wsv_qsSearchStatus=0&wsv_qsReferringURL=&wsv_qsSCartStatus=0&wsv_qsLowPrice=&wsv_qsHighPrice=&wsv_qsBR=&wsv_qsTerm=&wsv_qsAdvancedSearch=&wsv_qsNoAreas=&wsv_qsSFlg=&lt;/a>
<a href="http://www.forrent.com/fair_housing.asp%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.forrent.com/fair_housing.asp&lt;/a>
<a href="http://www.apartmentsearch.com/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.apartmentsearch.com/&lt;/a> (<--- this page is great, it's the front page, if you scroll all the way down to the bottom, it has the "Equal Housing Opportunity" logo- it justifiably assumes anyone, educated or not, understands what it means)
<a href="http://www.rent.com/company/legal/equal/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.rent.com/company/legal/equal/&lt;/a>
<a href="http://www.tenantplus.com/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.tenantplus.com/&lt;/a> (logo thing, again, those rascals)
<a href="http://www.sublet.com/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.sublet.com/&lt;/a> (this place just outright says it on the bottom)
<a href="http://www.apartmentlinks.net/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.apartmentlinks.net/&lt;/a> (these guys will deliver you back to that wonderful page I recommended to you)
<a href="http://www.apartmenthunterz.com/#%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.apartmenthunterz.com/#&lt;/a> (this one is based in California, so you can a CA version of the law, TOO COOL)
<a href="http://www.apartmentcities.com/equalHousing.asp%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.apartmentcities.com/equalHousing.asp&lt;/a> (very good link, let's play "spot the condition")</p>

<p>As you can clearly see, this is a very serious issue and these sites' mention of the law is not simply to pay lip service. Perhaps you should sit down, seriously review your Business Law notes (especially with regards to anti-discrimination laws, especially the Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity in Housing Acts, especially because that's the issue at hand here) and we'll talk again some other time.</p>

<p>I do not forget anything unintentionally, I like exclamation points over periods!, and my definitions are actually relevant.</p>

<p>Regards,
TTG</p>

<p>Ttgiang, thanks for your post... it was very well written and knowledgable. The scenario you illustrated made a good point about the issue of discrimination. I am no law expert, or business expert, for that matter, and I won't pretend to be. It just seems morally wrong that the house I signed up to live in is an active Christian community, OWNED by a Christian church, but masquerading as a secular organization. It has an active, sanctioned Christian website and organization. Not a Hindu one. Not a Muslim one. Not a Jehovah's Witness one. It would therefore be perfectly reasonable to conclude that the house could very well be partial to the Christian population over other populations. </p>

<p>For the manager in your scenario to inform the Muslim woman that "60% of residents here belong to the Church" seems a bit over the top, and indeed subversively discriminatory.... But such a basic, cut and dry fact such as "Westminster House is owned by the Berkeley Presbyterian Church" is information that damn near anyone would want to know. </p>

<p>To play out a scenario that is a bit extreme, but along the same lines as what I'm talking about, how would you like it if as a potential housebuyer, you find a nice place with a diverse, wonderful student body, you put down your deposit, and then find out a few weeks later that the house is owned by the KKK, and you have just unwittingly put money into their pockets by renting the room? Perhaps the KKK would have been legally justified by not making such information easily apparent, but wouldn't you be interested in knowing who your money is supporting? </p>

<p>Further more, with all this discriminatory talk, how is it that there is blatant LGBT housing at Berkeley? Isn't that discriminatory to non LGBT students who might like to live there? </p>

<p>Woman: I really like the place.
Manager: Yes, it's a great place to live. I'd just like to point out that 80% of residents here are gay, lestbian, bisexual, or transexual.</p>

<p>I mean come on, doesn't it make sense to want to know more about where you're living? Shouldn't it be the house's responsibility to inform potential residents of such basic, nondiscriminatory facts such as the house being owned by a church?</p>

<p>teh1337- my use of a Muslim woman is not over the top. Why would it be? If you want all this information to be said by the management to all individuals, wouldn't this also apply to a prospective Muslim woman? I'm not sure as to whom legally owns WHOUSE, but that is beside the point. Because they are openly, publicly offering this room, they are subject to those anti-discrimination laws that I talked about. The important thing to note is that those anti-discrimination laws are intended to protect you both in prospective stage, as well as when you physically occupy the space. Here is an important lesson: if you were to live in WHOUSE and all your worst fears about management came true, then you have legal recourse. It is unfortunate that you choose to follow another poster's method of persuasion, because using the KKK in conversation is just cheap gimmick. But I'll play along- I would LOVE it if the KKK allowed me to rent out a place in their home. If they did violate some anti-discrimination law, then I'm sure the government would be more than happy to help me flush out my wonderful managers. In terms of gay rights, when these laws were written- most of the important ones being from the 1960s- they were composed as follows:</p>

<p>"any preference, limitation, or discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or intention to make such preference, limitation or discrimination."</p>

<p>Notice that sexual orientation is not listed and I do not believe further legislation has been passed that includes it as an addendum to these laws.</p>

<p>"I mean come on, doesn't it make sense to want to know more about where you're living? Shouldn't it be the house's responsibility to inform potential residents of such basic, nondiscriminatory facts such as the house being owned by a church?"</p>

<p>It is not the house's responsibility, it is yours. Unless it is of critical importance, such as information regarding health concerns that affects all populations (asbestos is harmful to anyone, not just Christians or females or people under five feet tall), management is not obligated to discuss anything. Laws governing rentals are written so as to require management to publically disclose a wide range of information either (1) in the rental application, itself; or (2) upon request. Telling someone that a particularly place is owned by a church would be legally considered discriminatory; just replace "I'd just like to point out that 60% of residents here belong to the Church," with "This place is owned by a Church" (with the implication that other residents belong to the church as well, and you might be the odd man/woman out). Here is a link of interest, noting that Craigslist is one the top 50 most visited websites on the internet. Here, the mere mention of an apartment being located near a church is subject to a lawsuit:</p>

<p><a href="http://www.craigslist.org/about/fair.housing.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.craigslist.org/about/fair.housing.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>It appears the jury is still out on two important things. One, there still appears to be a very strict definition of "discrimination" in this thread. I encourage everyone to further explore the "discrimination" in the context of laws. Second, it appears that you do not know much about WHOUSE, period (here is a good example of when to use that expression). From your own visits, it appeared as though you enjoyed what they had to show, otherwise you would not have put down the deposit. It appears that you have neglected some of the comments made by posters on these boards, which would have calmed most of your fears. Your opinions continue to be bound by one single fact: that it is owned by a Church. Taking this singular fact, you proceed thence to drum up factually incorrect conclusions, such as WHOUSE has a majority population of Christian students and even implying that WHOUSE is effectively partial because of it's ownership. This has always been a case of proper and legally-sound management on the part of WHOUSE, insufficient research on your part and, unfortunately, there has arisen a show of prejudice* on your part against WHOUSE. Your concerns have been, more or less, ungrounded accusations against a residence most of the returning Berkeley posters have presented as a fair and reasonable place to live. Not sure how farsighted the original drafters of these laws were, and maybe its just a happy byproduct of their written word, but it seems as though by not allowing language that might potentially result in discriminatory action, that the law is also protecting those renting out apartments from being subjected to prejudice (as opposed to discrimination, key difference) by prospective renters. </p>

<p>I have mentioned this once before, but you cannot play around with logic and hope to get far. The actions of WHOUSE were necessitated by law; therefore, to effectively understand the precedence of their actions, it must follow legal discourse. </p>

<p>Hoping you come to the right conclusion,
TTG</p>

<ul>
<li>As this is a strong change, I will copy a definition so as in order there not to be confusion: "Prejudice is, as the name implies, the process of "pre-judging" something. In general, it implies coming to a judgment on the subject before learning where the preponderance of the evidence actually lies, or formation of a judgement without direct or actual experience."</li>
</ul>