Foster discusses differential housing with SG

By Caroline King
Staff Writer

Student Government gathered in the Education Building Room 115 for its anticipated visit with College President Kathryn Foster on Oct. 30. 

Following an open meeting with the Board of Trustees the day prior, where members discussed the issue of differential housing, Foster centered her visit on two main issues concerning students: housing and parking.

Foster began her discussion with the general body by acknowledging the deep pushback she and the Board of Trustees have received with regard to the newly proposed housing plan, otherwise known as differential housing, which would go into effect next year. 

The president listens to feedback from the general body (Jennifer Somers / Photo Editor).

“Our motive was the same as your pushback motive,” Foster said regarding the housing plan. She said there is currently a “deep inequity” in housing costs for students. 

Currently, the flat rate across singles, doubles and triples across the various buildings means certain students are paying more than necessary, given the quality and size of their room. However, Foster noted the “element of chance” with the current housing lottery system, which made the flat housing prices “somewhat more palatable.” 

For many in SG who voiced their concerns to Foster, the issue of equity stemmed more from the lack of a housing lottery system in the proposed plan. By having the choice to pick rooms, students could be paying the higher cost of living in a single. With the proposed plan, there is the possibility of being forced into a single and therefore paying more if all doubles were chosen before all singles.

“There’s a rigidity to the model we have here,” Foster said.

The discussion continued with the issue of parking at the College. 

Foster told the general body that she was currently looking for a company to conduct a study on parking needs, not only as they pertained to students, but faculty, staff and visitors as well.

As the student body and staff grow, ratios of parking would also play a part in a hypothetical addition to the current available parking. 

Foster, who has a master’s in city planning from the University of California, Berkeley, according to her biography on the College’s website, noted that a solution to the current lack of parking at the College would be “to build up and down.” 

As she and others are scoping out companies to conduct studies, Foster also urged applicable student groups to reach out, as proposed by an engineering student in attendance. 

Foster concluded by urging students to give their honest feedback about differential housing and parking, as well as offer suggestions for both issues.

Following Foster’s open discussion, SG introduced its sole resolution, different from a bill, as it must go into debate before being voted on.

R-F2019-01, “Differential Housing Resolution,” states that differential housing is not an equitable approach.

“The differential housing model would not promote inclusivity and equity, as this model does not comply with the current housing lottery system contingent on a random computer generated time slot for housing selection,” the resolution stated.

The resolution will be debated and most likely voted on at SG’s next meeting. If passed, it will be sent directly to Foster.

SG voted on the bill B-F2019-12, which states that initiatives are to be reviewed by the Vice President for Government Affairs before being sent to the Executive President, in order to provide a formatting and feedback process for sponsors.

The bill passed, and concluded the Old Business that was to be discussed at the meeting. 

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