Are we dreaming, or has the university actually done something about a problem without waiting for students to start picketing on the Mall?

Well, nobody's actually done anything yet, of course, but the UA has done the next best thing, almost as rare as action in a world ruled by bureaucracy: someone made a decision and, hopefully, a commitment.

The decision is a plan to rebuild Christopher City, the university-run apartment complex for students with families. Residents of Christopher City have been complaining for months about some rather serious problems, including illnesses that they say have been caused by carpets contaminated by repeated sewage backups.

Listening to residents complain of stove meltdowns and a neverending battle against roaches produced more proof that the university's priorities are skewed. It seemed that the problems were unimportant since the complex is off campus and therefore effectively invisible. Many wondered if the UA would ever do anything, since Christopher City, after all, is only student housing _ no research is conducted there.

And admittedly, the UA's decision to rebuild the complex came only after residents' complaints sparked extensive coverage of the problem in local media outlets. But all of that is irrelevant: when the university does something right, it needs to hear about it. Maybe, basking in the glow of public approval, it will continue to do things right.

This is certainly one of those occasions, for the plan presented to residents by Student Affairs Vice President Saundra Lawson Taylor is a good one. The university says it can rebuild the complex at the same site at 3401 N. Columbus Blvd. There is enough land there to build a new complex while residents continue living in the old one. Taylor said a committee will make specific decisions on what to do about Christopher City by the end of the semester.

In a bureaucracy the size of the University of Arizona, that's pretty fast, actually.

The decision does not mean the issue is dead, of course. The UA must take immediate action to alleviate at least the most pressing problems that will continue at the complex as the committee does its thing and, later, as construction

While questions and problems remain, there is reason to be optimistic, especially if residents believe Taylor when she says, "I'm committed to this issue not dying."

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