University Silence Speaks Volumes in Ordinance Fight*

*originally published by The Santa Clara on October 2, 2014.

HousingOrdinance

Santa Clara students are facing a challenging time and university administration is leaving us to fight for ourselves.

The optimist in me believes that the university will stand in solidarity with its students to fight the discrimination of the Neighborhood Protection Ordinance Committee, an organization that wants to involve itself in students’ personal matters. However, the realist in me is afraid that administration won’t step up to the plate and bat for its students who all but bleed red and white.

The recently proposed housing ordinance has been on many students’ minds. If passed, the proposition would force property owners to obtain a permit before leasing to five or more people paying rent separately.

However, many landlords will not risk renting to more than five students because of the “unruly gatherings” clause in the ordinance that would permanently revoke permits if tenants repeatedly cause a disturbance.

If this proposal passes, scores of students may be forced to find housing in accordance with the new law. For many students, off- campus housing is a more affordable alternative that makes attending college a possibility. For others, it’s an opportunity to become independent and grow as an adult. Administration currently holds no stance on the issue because the ordinance is still be- ing drafted. Regardless, once the ordinance is edited and fine-tuned, it will still accomplish the same thing: Students will face discrimination and limited housing options.

The fact that the university has repeatedly said it holds no stance is an insult to its students. The university should have been among the first to publicly oppose and strike down such a ridiculous and oppressive proposal.

It is foolish to say that the university is un- aware of the consequences students could be facing, regardless of whatever editing process the ordinance is in. Santa Clara has an influential voice in this city and has been present far longer than any Betty or Joe who lives down the street.

It’s one thing for a group of students to voice their displeasure to a committee that sees them as the root of the problem. It’s quite another thing for a 150-year-old institution to be a vocal proponent of its students and not tolerate the blatant discrimination that is being proposed.

Many Santa Clara residents question students’ reasoning for opposing the ordinance, seeing that it will only affect our lives for four years. While we may spend only four years at this school, we will spend a lifetime as a Bronco.

We students want to leave a positive legacy for the classes after us. We want to leave this university better than how we found it.

It would be a shame for the students of the 2014-2015 school year to be the ones who let the Neighborhood Protection Ordinance Committee take away our housing options.

The reality is that many of us Broncos aren’t registered to vote in this city, so we can’t do this alone. We need help from the administration.

If Santa Clara does not become vocal against the ordinance, it may very well be- come law and interfere with students’ lives.

Conveniently, Santa Clara is expanding its campus. Numerous lots are just waiting to be transformed.

For a university that manages to build entire residence halls in a year, it doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility for Santa Clara to construct residence halls for the influx of students who may have no other place to go.

As a result, Santa Clara will have a monopoly on the market of student real estate. If you want cheap housing within a reasonable distance to campus, the only choice will be what the university offers at whatever price they determine. No other choices.

Even if the ordinance passes, I want to look back and know without a doubt in my mind that Santa Clara had my back, that the administration did everything in its power to protect the well-being of all its students, both current and future, regardless of the financial ramifications.

The optimist in me hopes that the administration will realize how many prospective students will lose interest in Santa Clara once they learn that they will be trapped on campus for four years. I pray that administration will listen to the students’ voices of displeasure and act on our behalf. The realist in me is terrified that the optimist in me will be disappointed.

October 2-2014 University Silence Speaks

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