THE SANTA CLARA
April 28, 2016
Santa Clara will continue to, “educate citizens and leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion and cultivate knowledge and faith to build a more humane, just, and sustainable world.” This is a bold mission statement for the Silicon Valley Jesuit university that has ambitious goals for the future of Santa Clara.
Included in this aggressive attempt to elevate the university’s position among the nation’s premier universities are plans for accepting more students and building dorms to accommodate them.
Santa Clara showed leadership and a commitment to ethics when they ousted property managers known for poor response times and unfair pricing.
As students, we call on the university to take steps towards continuing to be stewards of the university mission as expansion occurs. The university will commit to several renovation projects over the next several years, in association with the planned expansion. However, the burden of financing this expansion should not be covered by housing costs of current students.
As Hackworth Fellows at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Alexandra Sudomoeva and I collected student and staff input on the quality and affordability of housing. During discussions with the Ethics Center we aimed to draw a distinction among following and leadership.
The former represents an approach in which issues that arise on college campuses are addressed after they rise to the forefront. The latter is an approach that identifies challenges and attempts to create solutions for anticipated problems.
Through meeting with the current vice president of Finance and the Director of Housing, we have come to the agreement that greater transparency can help build trust and confidence between the housing office and students. The administration has agreed to release preliminary data, but it is my sincere hope that Housing and Residence Life, in conjunction with the Finance team, release the full revenue and expenses employed towards funding on campus housing.
We see the value in this transparency since first-year students are encouraged to live on campus, while sophomores face a difficult decision when they decide to live on or off campus. HRL initiatives include programming around all six-terms and individual Residential Learning Communities have planned successful sophomore-specific events.
However, students that return ought to have more information from the university on where housing payments go. How much goes towards programming, staffing, repairs, energy, water and more?
Issues of housing affordability represent a difficult question for university administration. For over a decade, the affordability of rentals inside and outside of our university bubble have impacted the lives of students and alumni in the Bay Area.
While we do not expect the university to be able to continue its financial success without steady increases in the price of housing, we are hopeful that the university will take the lead in an important issue that is impacting nearly all enrolled students.
We look forward to continuing our discussions with the university community in order to design effective policies in regards to housing at Santa Clara.
We call on university stakeholders to get involved in this discussion by contacting us through email.
Roshan Rama is a senior economics and history major.