For the first time since opening, Cal State LA’s Student Housing will be closed during winter break.
Students have the option to pay an additional $1,444.55 to stay on-campus for the duration of break. This fee is usually included in their semester contract according to residents.
Most students dorm because of their distance away campus. Many come from out of state and even the country. These students do not have the privilege or resources to travel home for the five-week break, nor pay extra for a dorm room that they have already paid for.
“It is honestly ridiculous,” third-year student and housing resident Shonny Alvarez said. “The school just makes [these] policies without consulting with the actual students that it affects.”
Alvarez stressed due to the housing situation, he will be unable to take winter classes. He will have to temporarily move back home almost three hours away and will not be able to keep his job here in Los Angeles.
A large number of residents interviewed said their housing tuition is paid for with assistance from Financial Aid. This is not an option for the new housing agreement. Residents also noted that the meal plan will be unavailable for the five weeks; for many students without transportation, this raises concerns.
Most housing residents did not know of the change to the contract and heard from their peers before the administration.
“[Staff members of housing] say it was in the contract we signed but it was probably in small writing on the last page,” resident Carolina Jay said. “They also said they posted it on twitter but who really follows them? It’s just a scam.”
Online records indicate that housing costs increased by 12 percent from the 2017-2018 academic year. With the cost of living on campus now ranging up to $10,000 per semester, not including the meal plan. Residents, as well as non-residents, are ‘outraged’ that the housing department is demanding more money.
All students who did not pay to extend their stay are to be out by Dec 15, 2018. There is an extension that they can apply for which adds an additional two days to pack and make other living arrangements. This comes with a daily fee costing up to $41.27. However, students voiced they only had a few days to make the request, and some were even denied.
Second year student Daniela (Danyell) Mayen, became aware of this new housing arrangement just over a month ago by word of mouth. Mayen teamed up with a group of motivated students and together they gathered hundreds of signatures for a petition and formed a movement. “I don’t like when things affect me and my community, that’s not who I am” she stated. “This is not just another simple policy issue, it’s a roof over our heads and our safety.”
Mayen and her team assembled a rally on campus last Wednesday Nov.28. A massive crowd used their First Amendment right to voice their position against the housing administration.
“It’s a violation of our Human Rights,” Mayen expressed. “They’re taking away our housing, my dorm that I pay for.”
Housing Director Rebecca Palmer and the Dean of Students Jennifer Miller, were in attendance of last week’s rally. Students were hopeful they would see how serious this issue is being taken and how many people it’s affected.
As of now, nothing has been changed. It was stated by the housing administration that they will be ‘continuing with their mission’ and will be ‘making decisions on a case-by-case basis’ according to students who attended.
The Office of Housing and Residence life was unresponsive when approached by the UT.
A group of students are looking into alternative housing options in the area for all residents who need a place to stay beginning mid-December.
Mayen encourages all students to follow the housing movement and to spread the message. For any questions contact @GoldenEagleJustice on Instagram.
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