Open Letter to President Mary A. Papazian

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We, the SJSU students, faculty, staff, and alumni, as well as community members, ask you, President Papazian, to respond to the demands made by the Student Homeless Alliance (SHA). As you are aware, 13.2% of San José State students have experienced homelessness in the past year (according to the 2018 CSU Chancellor’s Office Study of Student Basic Needs). With a student population of 33,000, this means that over 4,000 SJSU students have experienced homelessness within the past year. Clearly, this is totally unacceptable, and we believe it deserves your immediate attention.

SHA’s demands are reasonable. They include:

1.  A minimum of 10 parking spots in the 7th Street Parking Garage for safe parking (this is an increase from the originally promised 5 to 7 spots that the SJSU administration agreed to in July, 2018 but has yet to enact);
2.  A minimum of 12 beds in the dorms for homeless students, where they can stay up to 60 days (this is expansion of two beds for two weeks that is now offered);
3.  $2,500 emergency grants for students to remain in housing if they cannot afford rent.

We acknowledge and appreciate that you have met one of our original demands, and that is to provide a resource list of homelessness and hunger services to all students at their Transfer/Freshman Orientation, as well as a clear and direct workable link for food and housing security under the ‘Current Students’ tab on the SJSU website. However, you have had the above three demands before you for two months. To draw attention to the SJSU student homeless crisis, students wrote you a letter asking for a meeting (which has not happened), slept out at the Smith & Carlos statues to be in solidarity with homeless students, marched on campus, and held a candlelight vigil in front of your office.

Taken by themselves, the above demands will not end student homelessness. However, they are an important beginning. If you agree to implement them, it will demonstrate your willingness to address the concerns that have been brought before you by your constituents, the students. And now that Governor Newsom has proposed $15 million dollars to the Basic Needs Initiative (over $650,000 per campus) in his new budget, SJSU will now have the financial ability to not only meet our demands, but to do even more.

We, the signatories to this letter, await your response.  


**Please identify on the petition comment if you are a SJSU student, faculty, staff, alumni, or community member.