Reduce Rent in Southern Utah to Reflect the Shorter Semester, Consider COVID Issues

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SUU switched to a trimester system, cutting two weeks off the usual semester, yet rent is the same or has increased. Many will also leave after Thanksgiving due to COVID and SUU's schedule, but contracts are not flexible in the least. Fix this mess.

Further,

The US is in crisis, on the verge of yet another death spiral, and college students are at the brunt of it. An already unstable market has been in distress since the start of the pandemic, and while the wealthy became wealthier, unemployment has reached an all time high. A crash similar to that of the ‘30's is likely; but while corporations and banks are getting billions in bailouts, the people are left to fail (Schulze). CNBC predicts evictions may cause 28 million to go homeless in the next few months, compared to the 10 million homeless during the Great Depression (Nova). College students are at the center of this crisis, and are hit the hardest by unemployment, overpriced tuition, unreasonable rent controlled by the wealthy, and run down apartments. On shoestring budgets, students must pay for rent, food, utilities, debt, and tuition at the minimum. The students of Southern Utah University demand reasonable rent, an end to evictions, housing for the homeless, and an informed city-wide COVID response during this crisis in hopes of alleviating the pressure of a society on the precipice of a crash. If these demands are not met, we will have no choice but to join the nationwide Rent Strike.

Unemployment in Utah has skyrocketed during the pandemic as small businesses, restaurants, gas stations, and national parks closed. These jobs are usually filled by college students, who rely on this income for the rest of the year for food and rent. Without this summer income, and with a measly $1200 stimulus check four months ago, students simply do not have enough money to pay for rent, food, utilities, debt, and tuition. One of these expenses has to go. In search of a way to pay for this education, many will drop out or be forced into loans. With a collective $1.65 trillion in student debt, the average student owing $25,900, loans will keep the rising generation of workers poor for years to come (U.S. Student Loan Debt Statistics).

This affects college students in every university and in every city. This crisis will not disappear within a year or two, its damages are far reaching. This is the generation of workers meant to continue the American tradition. A free life cannot be fulfilled while in thousands of dollars of debt. This is not freedom, this is servitude. Necessities like mental healthcare, medicine, hospital expenses during a pandemic, car insurance, car payments, childcare, clothing, internet, entertainment, and employment once at SUU have not even been mentioned. Students are becoming aware of their place in the crisis, and in society, the bottom. Southern Utah Univ. students must deal directly with the unemployment, debt, and housing crisis while also poorer than their parents were. This is an outrage.

The Students of SUU demand reasonable rent, though rent and mortgages should be cancelled entirely for the duration of the pandemic. Charging today’s already burdened students is wrong as is, the least landlords and banks can do is be mindful of basic human needs. Rent cuts will allow students to pay for healthcare, food, utilities, debt, and tuition. Further, stop evictions and provide housing to the homeless population for the duration of this crisis, the health of the community depends on it. Allow medical professionals and scientists control over the campus and city-wide response to COVID. Landlords and homeowners ought to also refuse to pay mortgages and loans to banks. The corporations get bailouts and the people are left to fail. If these demands are not met, we will join thousands of others in the largest rent strike since the Great Depression.


Work Cited:

Schulze, Elizabeth. “Financial Analyst Gary Shilling Says the Stock Market Could See a 1930s-like Decline.” CNBC, CNBC, 6 July 2020, www.cnbc.com/2020/07/06/gary-shilling-says-the-stock-market-could-see-a-1930s-like-decline.html

Nova, Annie. “Looming Evictions May Soon Make 28 Million Homeless in U.S., Expert Says.” CNBC, CNBC, 12 July 2020, www.cnbc.com/2020/07/10/looming-evictions-may-soon-make-28-million-homeless-expert-says.html

“U.S. Student Loan Debt Statistics for 2020.” Student Loan Hero, 27 Feb. 2020, studentloanhero.com/student-loan-debt-statistics/.

Lennard, Natasha. “Largest Rent Strike in Nearly a Century Amid Coronavirus Crisis.” The Intercept, 25 Apr. 2020, theintercept.com/2020/04/25/coronavirus-rent-strike-may/.