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MWC says special circumstances led them to rent guest cottage to Sen. Edd Houck's daughter
The Cornell cottage on Monroe Street near Mary Washington College's Sunken Road gate. MWC's Web site says it provides a 'temporary residence for visiting professors and guests of the college.'
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Date published: 10/13/2003
Mary Washington College officials say special circumstances led them to allow state Sen. Edd Houck's daughter to live this semester in a school-owned house usually reserved for important guests.
Greta Houck, who has a physical disability, is living alone in the college-owned Cornell House, even though she does not meet the usual course requirements for on-campus housing and students are rarely allowed to use the cottage. She declined comment for this story.
Both MWC Presi-dent William M. Anderson Jr. and Sen. Houck, who sits on a legislative committee that controls state funding for universities and colleges, said the special housing arrangement was not a political favor.
The president said he made the accommodation for Greta Houck, 22, because of her disability, adding that he often makes exceptions for disabled students.
"We're not doing it because she's the senator's daughter, I can guarantee you that. We're doing it because that's why we're here," said Anderson, whose left leg and arm are still impaired from a 1996 brain aneurysm.
Neither he nor Sen. Houck would say what Greta Houck's disability is.
"I can assure you that there's no preferential treatment going on," said Houck, a Democrat from Spotsylvania County who has served in the Senate since 1983. "Doctor Anderson made all these arrangements with my daughter, who is an adult. I'm not responsible for what is occurring."
Ranny Corbin, Anderson's executive assistant, said the president's office has made exceptions for at least 50 students over the past five years for various reasons. She declined to provide details, citing concerns about privacy, but said that only a few of those students had disabilities.
"Usually, students with disabilities go through the office for disabled students. They don't come here first," she said.
The 1,000-square-foot Cornell cottage on Monroe Street, near the college's Sunken Road gate, has a bedroom, living room, dining room, kitchen, 11/2 bathrooms and a patio. According to the college's Web site, it "provides a temporary residence for visiting professors and guests of the college."
MWC Residence Life Director Christine Porter said her office has not placed students in Cornell House during her five years at the college.