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Silicon Valley University Asks Professors to Offer Students Affordable Housing

Aerial view of Silicon Valley at dusk, with a portion of the San Mateo/Hayward Bridge visible, as well as Foster City, including the California headquarters of Gilead Sciences, Visa, and Conversica, California, July, 2016. Smith Collection/Gado Getty Images

A University of California college has asked thousands of faculty and staff members for some help in providing students affordable housing, according to a report.

Last week, the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) housing director David Keller petitioned 6,000 faculty and staff members to consider offering students “a room in your home,” according to the local CBS affiliate that obtained a copy of the letter. Keller wrote that there are “several hundred students” at the university who don’t have “housing guarantees” and need support.

Silicon Valley is notorious for its high living costs. And, according to the report, Santa Cruz and its surrounding areas have far more single-family homes than affordable apartments. Worse yet, a senior at UCSC told the CBS affiliate that some “landlords are kind of jacking up the prices because they know about this.”

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The student, Leon Pham, told CBS that he’ll pay $1,100 per month for a small room in a shared house.

Still, there are potentially negative implications to schools asking for professors to rent rooms in their homes to students. Professors are still required to fairly judge student work, and a healthy separatation between professors and students is usually what colleges want. The housing crunch, however, might have forced the university’s hand. And a spokesperson from the school told CBS that the college has policies that govern “the conduct of students and professors.”

Looking ahead, there’s no sign the college’s housing problems will get any better. According to the report, there are plans to build a 3,000-unit campus housing facility, but it won’t be open for several years.

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