On Tuesday, Feb. 28, the Student Government Association held a town hall meeting. Considering the recent issues surrounding the lack of housing available to West Chester students, this town hall meeting had very high stakes for those who were waiting and on edge to see what would be discussed. Students were encouraged to submit questions beforehand.
The Instagram page, @wcu_housingcrisis, run by the group “Fair Housing For All,” released a list of questions they submitted. The group sought answers as to why the administration admitted the largest freshman class in history if it could not house even half of the students applying for it. The group also wanted to know if there would be an increase in the proposed stipend to meet actual off-campus living cost.
According to the group, President Fiorentino addressed some of their concerns, although not all of them. In a post to their Instagram Stories after the town hall, the group said, “Fiorentino managed to, successfully, [talk] so much that there was no time left for questions from the audience. He said that he would be addressing all the questions in that time, but as to nobody’s surprise, he did not.”
The group’s skepticism is understandable. Students have been able to win a $2,000 stipend to be offered to all students denied on-campus housing for a total of around $1.6 million. At the same time, student organizers also understand that $2000 per student denied housing is simply an appeasement strategy that does not address the actual cost of living.
In another post, the group continued to assert their demands, including a “$20,000 stipend for all students denied traditional housing, now and going forward,” to “revert USH-owned buildings back to WCU-owned,” and for “new public dorm buildings and/or additions on existing WCU-owned buildings.” Their demands all align with the goal of housing students, whether it be by providing them the funds to be able to afford off-campus living or by making new living areas available for students.
The fight for fair housing is an incredibly important one. The @wcu_housingcrisis social media account serves as a place for those affected by the housing crisis to come together and share their stories in a supportive environment. They provide visibility and solidarity to students who have found themselves without housing in the future.
The “Fair Housing For All” group is able to use their platform to show students that people are willing to fight for them, without settling for less than their demands. The group said it best themselves: “When we fight, we win.”
To find more information about Fair Housing For All, visit their Instagram page at @wcu_housingcrisis or using this link: https://www.instagram.com/wcu_housingcrisis/.
RJ Jacobson is a fourth-year Political Science major with a Journalism minor. email@example.com