CSULA Housing Crisis
CSULA Housing Crisis
Dear California State University of Los Angeles (CSULA),
We the students of CSULA feel that the contracts proposed for winter break housing is a violation of our constitutional rights. Consequently, CSULA is responsible for the neglect and unjust treatment of students who live on campus. The university did not take into consideration that many students do not have the financial stability to pay the fees for winter break. Students rely on this housing opportunity to keep them safe and in many cases to keep from being homeless. It is also necessary for other students to avoid toxic or abusive households. It is the hope of the CSULA student body that our safety and basic needs are supported by the campus so that student academic success is not jeopardized. That being said, changes need to be made. First, there needs to be clear communication and support from the university to its students. This means that all students should be able to voice their concerns while being validated and accommodated. Secondly, we ask that the university provide resources for students who cannot afford to stay for the winter. Conducting case by case reviews have been inefficient and ineffective to meeting students’ needs, therefore, we demand changes to accommodate ALL students.
About 28,000 students attend California State University Los Angeles and approximately 1,000 live in housing. In the past year, the cost of living on campus has increased and changed in ways that leave harsh consequences on students. CSULA Housing is forcing residents to leave their dorms over the winter unless they pay an exorbitant fee between $800 to $1500. In prior years, this was not required, and students were allowed to stay in their dormitories without having to pay any fees. Housing stated on their website, “The payment deadline is December 7, 2018. Financial aid and payment plans are not available during winter break, so fees will have to be paid out-of-pocket.”, along with “Please note that meal plans are not offered during winter break.” On top of housing charging high prices, they are not providing meal plans which means students will have to find their own means of getting food. Students should have access to the dining commons if they are going to be paying $800-$1500 to live on campus for five weeks. CSULA housing employees informed us that the reason this is happening is because the university switched over from quarter system to semester system. We were also told that the university is trying to follow along with the rest of the CSU system. We understand that this is the way the industry has run and that other CSU campuses have similar rules, but that does not justify it. All students in the CSU system should not have to pay for winter break. All of these changes have a significant impact on the diverse group of students living in housing, considering that most students come from out of state or country, broken homes, and for some; no home at all. The harsh reality is that many students cannot afford to pay the extra fees which results in an alarming number of students becoming homeless during the break. California State University is in violation of students’ rights to a safe and peaceful environment. This issue has to be addressed by housing and the university before the well-being of students is put at a greater risk.
We come to you hoping that we can reach an understanding that is in the best interest of the students. Students deserve to have shelter the entire time they are attending University. This policy needs to be reviewed, and this time, with input and consideration of the students. The university needs to make it a responsibility to share resources with students along with, validating students’ experiences. If we cannot come to an agreement, we will be forced to seek legal counsel. You will leave us no choice but to pursue other housing alternatives if you fail to meet our demands. We have already formed a team, who is seeking partnership with local homeowners to provide long term student living spaces off campus, if the university does not comply to our demands.
We the students of Cal State LA have the right to fair and affordable housing. We have the right to a healthy, stress-free learning environment. We, the students, wake up each and every day and take on the demands given to us by the institution. A majority of us must balance full time or part-time jobs just to keep up with fees and tuition. No student should ever have to worry about their living situation while pursuing their education. It is unfair and further proves that CSULA functions more for economic gain rather than a higher education institution to serve its students. This is not just a money issue, but a moral one. The university will be doing a disservice to its students and the community that supports CSULA, if it decides not to handle this immediate issue. It will contradict the school’s mission of, “Cal State LA transforms lives and fosters thriving communities across greater Los Angeles. We cultivate and amplify our students' unique talents, diverse life experiences, and intellect through engaged teaching, learning, scholarship, research, and public service that support their overall success, well-being, and the greater good.” CSULA is not applying this mission if they continue with this policy. The university has to reflect on the decisions it made and how it has and continues to affect students that live on campus.