Undergraduate Senate urges University to increase summer housing affordability

May 20, 2020, 2:02 a.m.

At its final meeting, the 21st Undergraduate Senate unanimously approved a resolution encouraging the University to provide summer housing for on-campus students at lower-than-usual cost given the financial pressures and travel restrictions resulting from the global pandemic.

The resolution urges Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE) to lower summer housing and dining costs and the Financial Aid Office to increase financial support available to students on campus. The resolution also urges the Financial Aid Office to provide funds without counting this summer toward students’ 12 quarters of aid. 

The accommodations are necessary to support the students who have been allowed to remain on campus, the resolution argues, stating that “only students with the most extenuating circumstances were allowed to stay on campus” and that “the students who have remained on campus have no other accommodations options but the Stanford residences.”

“There are people who don’t know where they’re going to live this summer, who still have to figure that out,” said Senator Micheal Brown ’22. “There’s 600 students who are all frantic.”

The University’s decision to charge the same fees for housing and dining has sparked student criticism.

“For an institution with the capacity and the responsibility to protect its most vulnerable, it is upsetting to see the University side-step that responsibility,” wrote Sheikh Srijon ’22 in a Daily op-ed. “Its balance sheet adjustments will cause sleepless nights and endless anxiety for those of us who cannot afford to go back home.”

The resolution cites peer institutions, like Harvard, MIT and Duke, that are offering heavily subsidized or free housing and dining for students remaining on campus. Harvard will offer summer housing for $200. Stanford’s summer housing and dining costs for the summer are $6,155. 

Senator Mià Bahr ’22 also spoke to her past anti-Israel tweets, which were posted by the Stanford College Republicans (SCR) Facebook page on Thursday, as Bahr seeks reelection this week. Bahr issued written apologies to Stanford’s Jewish community and the University community more broadly on Friday.

In a June 2018 tweet, Bahr wrote, “if you still support israel, you can choke, honestly.” SCR wrote that the tweets constituted antisemitism.

Bahr said that while “the wording was not great,” she hopes voters recognize some tweets were reflective of her high school self. She also alluded to SCR’s history of criticizing ASSU candidates’ social media activity. In 2019, SCR publicized screenshots of deleted tweets by ASSU Executive candidate Kimiko Hirota ’20 that she self-described as “anti-Semitic.”

“It happens every single year, so it’s [no] sweat off my back,” Bahr said.

Bahr and five other current senators are running for reelection against 25 other candidates. The voting window closed at the end of the day on Tuesday, and results will be announced on Friday.

Kate Selig served as the Vol. 260 editor in chief. Contact her at kselig 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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