A playground in the Maguire Village, one of the locations graduate students feared was closing, located on the east side of 34th Street in between Radio and Hull roads.

UF graduate students do not need to fear the closing of any graduate housing villages.

Michael Sanchez, mayor of the UF Corry Village, filed a petition on May 3 to oppose the rumored closing of Maguire Village and University Village South. However, the UF housing department has denied the closing of these apartments.

Although no buildings or villages will be closing in the near future, a number of apartment units have been unavailable in Maguire Village and University Village South.

These two buildings have 51 out of their 358 units unavailable for the 2019-2020 academic year due to maintenance and operations issues, the interim Vice President for Student Affairs, Winfred Phillips, wrote in an email response to the petition.

Phillips said in the email that the department is doing what is in the residents’ best interests.

The housing department said they anticipate being able to accommodate similar numbers of graduate students and their families as in previous years, Phillips said.

Since last August, students have complained to the UF Mayor’s Council regarding their denied applications to the Maguire Village and University Village South. More than 200 people signed the petition on, Sanchez said.

Residents from these villages and the other graduate housing assumed the two villages were likely to be closed in the near future because of the number of denied applications, Sanchez said.

“If you remove almost two-thirds of the villages for graduate and family housing, you’re removing the campus experience,” Sanchez said. “You’re removing the academic experience.”

Sanchez is concerned that if graduate housing is reduced, then the number of graduate students will decrease.

“If our mission statement is to rise in prominence and become a top five university, how are we going to do this if we are eliminating the people who do the research?” Sanchez said. “They are the backbone of the university, academically wise.”

Ali Alquraishi signed Sanchez’s petition when he heard about it, having lived in the UF Maguire Village with his son for three years, he said.

Through the graduate housing facilities, he has been able to work for Maguire Village as a community assistant and send his son to the university daycare, he said.

“Tearing down this village would affect me tremendously,” Alquraishi said. “This place is affordable, convenient and I feel it’s extremely safe for not only myself, but for my son.”