Commentary: The Moral Imperative of Student Housing

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The numbers quite simply do not add up.  And the result is going to be a moral crisis, the likes of which we do not fully comprehend.

UC Davis is continuing to drag its feet in terms of increasing student housing provisions in its LRDP (Long Range Development Plan).  Once again last weekend, an official from UC Davis talked about going to providing about 90 percent of new student enrollment with housing on campus – but failed to commit to hard numbers.

Bob Segar talked about the fact that the RFPs (Request for Proposals) will be “written with minimum targets” and that they are looking for “innovative ways that we can house more students.”

But once again UC Davis flat out would not state that they would get to a certain level, and failed to explain why they wouldn’t.

The problem that we face now is a numbers game – of which we are on the wrong side.

By our calculations if the university only supplies 90 percent of new students with on-campus housing, they are actually making the problem that we face in Davis and in the region that much worse.

Current conditions are bad.  A vacancy rate of 0.2 percent is an unsustainable situation that leads to substandard housing and exploitative rent and housing conditions.

In April the city of Davis heard the desperate cries of students, as one student put it: “I struggle from April to August to find a place to live in Davis and I had to prepare myself to be homeless if I could not find a place.”

The university said they have heard these cries – they understand the magnitude of the crisis.  But when push comes to shove, when it is time to put words into action, the UC Davis plan falls well short of a workable solution.

Instead we get rhetoric.

As Bob Segar explained, “The way we got that number (90 percent) — and I don’t know if it even matters — was historically, 90 percent of students have lived either on campus or in town. So when  we said we’ll take 90 percent, the intention of that statement was we’ll take all the growth.”

The university’s reasoning here is inherently flawed.  As we asked this weekend, are those fake numbers?  Is the reason that 10 percent of the students lived out of town traditionally a preference issue or a cost or structural one?  In other words, the university is acting as though only 90 percent of the new student enrollment will live on campus or in town, and that 10 percent will choose to live outside of Davis in Sacramento or elsewhere.

That makes the critical assumption that the decision is a choice or preference rather than a function of structural issues – such as high housing costs on campus and in Davis, or lack of available housing closer to campus.

And that is the problem we face – what is the alternative if UC Davis fails to provide on-campus housing for the 3900 students who fall in the gap between housing 40 percent of the total student population and 50 percent of the population?

Eileen Samitz, who has pushed the university hard on this issue for nearly two years now, wrote yesterday, “A significant issue that needs to be addressed also, is that UCD’s negligence to provide the needed on-campus student housing is a major problem since UCD keeps trying to push its housing needs onto the City. So the City needs to not be pressured in the upcoming General Plan update to compensate for UCD’s inaction and lack of cooperation to provide the needed backlog of on-campus housing they need to build as well as providing the 50/100 plan at minimum for their ambitious growth plans. UCD needs to step-up to fix the student housing problems it has created.”

However, this isn’t all on UC Davis.  The choice that UC Davis had, like the rest of the system, was growth or tuition increase.  Finances are a big problem and UC Davis has chosen to solve that through enrollment growth rather than increasing the costs for schooling, which is preferable in my view.

The problem is that UC Davis failed to plan adequately for housing that growth.

However, the city of Davis cannot accommodate the 3000 to 4000 additional beds.  It lacks the housing space.  And it lacks the realistic ability to grow outside of its borders.

As I put it yesterday, UC Davis cannot pressure the city into accommodating those students because the city lacks the ability to do so.

That’s not a good thing, by the way.  It means that, while I believe UC Davis will go beyond 90 percent of new enrollment, they will fall well short of the 50 percent total on-campus goal.

What that means is if the city will not be able to accommodate those students and UC Davis won’t, those students will be forced into other communities.  But neighboring communities have their own housing situations and housing crunches and will no more be able to accommodate UC Davis growth than Davis has been.

There is a reason why other communities are trying to put the pressure on UC Davis to provide more on-campus housing – because they know it will impact the entire region.

The people who are going to get caught in this buzz saw will not be the older residents of Davis, but rather the more vulnerable student populations.

Back in April, during the Sterling discussion, Georgia Savage warned, “from a student perspective, not passing this project is risking homelessness for students, which I would argue is a significantly more present issue.”

As ASUCD Senator Daniel Nagey put it, part of making education affordable is making housing affordable because, “without affordable housing, students will spend all of their hours working and not studying to afford their house.  Then the whole point of attending college is moot.”

Samantha Chiang, ASUCD Senate President Pro Tem, said that many students are “forced to start their housing search in November of their first year, only to not find a house and be forced to couch surf in the following year.  We cannot be pawns in the game between the city and the university – we are consistently advocating on both ends to increase housing.”

To get a sense of the danger lurking around the corner, look no further than a report in the L.A. Times on June 29 which showed that 20 percent of the L.A. Community College District’s 230,000 students are homeless and nearly two-thirds cannot afford to eat properly.

Writes the Times, “Nearly half the L.A. community college students surveyed reported struggling with high housing costs. Of the 19% who said they were recently homeless, 8% reported being thrown out of their homes, 4% said they had been evicted, and 6% had stayed in an abandoned building, car or other location not meant for housing.”

Student homelessness may not mean that students literally end up on the street – instead many will “couch surf” or live in their car.

We are headed in this direction in Davis.

This is a moral issue.  This is a desperate situation.  The students speaking out in April warned us of the impending crisis, but I see no sign that UC Davis has taken it on with any kind of real commitment.

Only UC Davis is equipped to fix this problem.  But instead, we continue to get equivocating by the administration.  While they try to get above 90 percent, students are struggling to find shelter and food.  Is that really the legacy we want for higher education?

—David M. Greenwald reporting



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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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114 thoughts on “Commentary: The Moral Imperative of Student Housing”

  1. Howard P

    Finances are a big problem and UC Davis has chosen solve that through enrollment growth rather than increasing the costs for schooling which is preferable in my view.

    It is not clear to me how enrollment increases, reduces/maintains the cost/student.

    UCD is “empire-building”…

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      Because part of what they did was increase the number of out of state students paying full and unsubsidized tuition. And the other part is economy of scale, they’re packing in more students into the same number of faculty and classes and facilities.

  2. Mark West

    This ‘moral crisis’ as David calls it, could have been easily solved years ago had the Davis community accepted more multi-family housing in town. This problem has been created by ourselves, by our approach to housing in general and to the needs of students in particular. The real ‘moral crisis’ in my opinion is that we live in a selfish community that favors those who already have an appropriate place to live and ignores the needs of those who do not.

    1. Jim Hoch

      UCD has less of a housing issue than many of the other UCs. UCB/UCLA/UCSD are much more difficult for students. Some students at UCB are living in Stockton!

      Not sure of the relevance of the community college students survey as these are different students. For those not familiar with “food insecurity” here is the standard

      Low food security (old label=Food insecurity without hunger): reports of reduced quality, variety, or desirability of diet. Little or no indication of reduced food intake.

      Lot’s of press releases lately on “food insecurity”. My personal favorite being Teamsters Local 2010 which claims their members are “food insecure”. However searching for photos of Local 2010 consistently shows morbidly obese members so I take those claims with a bushel of salt.

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        “UCD has less of a housing issue than many of the other UCs. ”

        What does that even mean? UCD has less on-campus housing and Davis has a 0.2 percent vacancy rate. So what are you trying to say here and by what metric are you using?

      2. Tia Will

        Oh Jim, where to even start. I hope you were being facetious, but just in case you weren’t. Pictures of obese people do not mean that there is no food insecurity in the group. Some may have plenty to eat ( say in a two income family) where others may be chronically lacking due to insufficient compensation. Also, obesity is not a marker of food security since your income may allow you to have enough food to store calories without being able to afford a nutritionally healthful diet.

        1. David Greenwald

          To add to Tia’s point, obesity is a larger problem with food insecure people, because they end up filling their nutritional deficit with cheaper more fattening and caloric foods.

      1. Mark West

        I agree it does need to be solved, but you continue to focus on solving the wrong problem. We are responsible for failing to supply sufficient housing for Davis residents so that is the problem that needs to be solved. The moral crisis is a community that pays lip service to the needs of the disadvantaged while working to block any action that might actually address those needs.

        1. David Greenwald

          I don’t completely agree with you.  UC Davis has the second lowest on campus housing rate in the system despite having available land and UC Davis has expanded enrollment.  That part is on the city of Davis.

          Again, realistically speaking, the city is not going to accommodate the 4000 beds, so that falls to UC Davis

        2. Mark West

          The University of California is not some outside entity coming to damage the community. It is one of the many statewide benefits that we as residents have agreed to support. In short, we are the University of California.

          If, as you and many others claim, it is the responsibility of the University of California to supply housing for students, then that means that it is our responsibility. Look in the mirror, David. You, me and everyone else who has an appropriate place to live in town are the ones responsible for the housing crisis. We have plenty of room to build more housing; we refuse to do it. It is our failure, no one else’s.

          Focus on the real problem, not the strawman arguments you and the ‘no change’ crowd seem to prefer. The housing crisis was created by the Davis community and we are responsible for solving it.

      2. Don Shor

        There have been periods of active construction of high-density rental housing in the past. Lots of apartments built in South Davis and up north along Anderson in the 1980s and 90’s. At that time Davis was the fastest-growing city in Yolo County. It was the high pace of construction that largely prompted Measure J in the first place. Problem is, the university continued to grow and housing construction came to a screeching halt. Then the 2020 Initiative was announced with no concurrent planning between UCD and the city to house that increase. Current UCD plans don’t even deal with that growth. So housing is a shared responsibility, and solving the housing problem is a shared responsibility.

        1. Richard McCann

          I agree with Mark West that this is largely a problem of our own making. That UCD enrollment is growing isn’t a new surprise. The current plan is consistent with the 2005 plan that led to West Village. We’ve had at least a decade to avoid this moment.

          David wrote: ” The choice that UC Davis had, like the rest of the system, was growth or tuition increase.  Finances are a big problem and UC Davis has chosen to solve that through enrollment growth rather than increasing the costs for schooling, which is preferable in my view.” This is not the choice that UC has been making–it has been working to expand access to a broader population. As I’ve posted elsewhere, the UC campuses are collectively the most successful in the U.S. at providing access to low-income students. We can complain that UC is growing without our say-so, but then we’re just protecting our privileges in a largely college-educated community. We first need to recognize and acknowledge our responsibility to provide those who are less privileged an opportunity to improve their economic lot.

          And then David wrote: “And it lacks the realistic ability to grow outside of its borders. As I put it yesterday, UC Davis cannot pressure the city into accommodating those students because the city lacks the ability to do so.” What? Is there some outside force that keeps us from making decisions about our own city? We’re acting like “I’ll hold my breath until you give me what I want.” This mess is of our own making by going to ballot-box zoning. We elect officials to make difficult decisions that require more information and deliberation that we can do individually. This is not about competing sound bites–it requires hard thinking and hard choices, which honestly voters are not well equipped to undertake.

  3. Ron

    David:  “UCD has less of a housing issue than many of the other UCs. ”

    What does that even mean? UCD has less on-campus housing and Davis has a 0.2 percent vacancy rate. So what are you trying to say here and by what metric are you using?

    I realize that this question was directed to Jim, and I can’t answer for him.  But, given his example of a truly “extreme” commute regarding UC Berkeley, would it not make sense to examine vacancy rates and costs in communities adjacent to Davis (if one wishes to make a more accurate apples-to-apples comparison of the overall situation that students face at different universities)?

    This isn’t some type of “argument” that I’m making.  I understand that UCD’s position is that (apparently) 10% of students “choose” to live in surrounding communities. (I agree that this isn’t “desirable”, but it potentially could remain that way if availability and costs remain quite different, with the only barrier being a few miles which are relatively traffic-free.)

    I’ve read that vacancy rates in surrounding communities are quite low at the moment, but tend to fluctuate more than the vacancy rate in Davis.  I could probably find articles which support that statement.

  4. Jim Hoch

    Thanks for pinch hitting Ron.

     

    It means that the housing market in other communities is much more severe than around UCD. Here students can live in Dixon, woodland, Sac or other places for comparatively little money. Try that at UCLA, UCSD, or UCSF.

    Despite the City of Davis believing that students are inferior life forms, ranking below both house pets and farm animals, students have higher availability and lower prices than other campuses. Even the trailer park dwellers on Pole Line look down on students.

  5. Tia Will

    So housing is a shared responsibility, and solving the housing problem is a shared responsibility.”

    I think that Don has this right. I might even take it a little further. Since housing is now impacting the surrounding communities becoming a regional issue as was stated, and since UCD either cannot or will not provide more housing on the current land available, I am wondering if it may not be time to consider locating appropriate programs in surrounding communities. There is precedent for the development of regional offshoots. The transfer of the medical school to Sacramento comes to mind as does the existence of the agricultural field station in Fresno. Perhaps Sacramento, Woodland, Vacaville would be desirable locations for extension programs of the university.

  6. David Greenwald

    “Here students can live in Dixon, woodland, Sac or other places for comparatively little money.”

    That’s actually not clear.  For instance, Sac has its own housing crunch and rising costs.  In fact, it’s not clear that any of those communities can accommodate the numbers of students that UCD is expected to add.

    1. Jim Hoch

      “Sac has its own housing crunch” Are you seriously comparing the housing in Sac Vs. SF or West LA? Sac may be more expensive than it’s own historical average but it is not in the same league as SF or LA or even SD. 

      The size of the markets are dramatically different as well. If you are going to UCD you can commute to Yuba City more easily than someone at UCSF can find a place at that price level.

      I see 4BD homes in Woodland for the low $2000’s and that is 15 minutes. How far from UCSF would you need to drive to find a 4BD for that price?

      1. David Greenwald

        You stated that students can live in Dixon, Woodland or Sac for comparatively little money.  I responded, Sac has its own housing crunch and rising costs (source: http://www.sacbee.com/news/business/real-estate-news/article142079274.html and http://www.sacbee.com/news/business/real-estate-news/article152431529.html) nowhere in my comment was any kind of comparison.  You may see 4BD homes, but that’s irrelevant because students aren’t going to buy homes, they need rental housing and large numbers having to commute will saturate the market.

        1. Jim Hoch

          My reference to the 4BD home was a rental rate of $2000-$2500 month. Apologies for any lack of clarity. A 4BD can accommodate more than 4 students but even at the lower occupancy it’s $500-$600 a month which is way cheaper than anyplace else.

          “nowhere in my comment was any kind of comparison” above you write “UC Davis has the second lowest on campus housing rate in the system” which seems to this observer as introducing a comparison.

        2. Jim Hoch

          “I also don’t understand why you’re pushing a suboptimal solution to the current problem.”

          You address this problem as a “moral imperative”. My belief is that the UC system should focus on the biggest problem is housing at the urban campuses where the students are more highly stressed.

          Housing at UCD is a comparatively trivial issue and the shrillness of the local outrage does not make it more important.

          IMO the optimal solution is to build housing along 5th street which is currently given over to blight, the city yard and the trailer park. This would reduce commuting and provide an economic foundation to our downtown.

        3. David Greenwald

          UC Davis has among the lowest on-campus housing rates in the system, right now the level of concern by students seems at odds with your analysis.

        4. Jim Hoch

          “the level of concern by students” how does that compare to the level of concern of UCB students who commute to Stockton everyday? There is no way you can make the case that housing at UCD is a bigger issue than housing at other campuses and issues like this are addressed UC-wide.

  7. Matt Williams

    In an attempt to understand the actual UC system-wide and campus-specific housing information I contacted the UC Office of the President and they sent me the following response:

    https://www.davisvanguard.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/UC-Systemwide_Housing-update_Fall2016.jpg
    .
    Dear Mr. Williams,
     
    In response to your request for information, I have attached two PDFs that show the proportion of students housed in on-campus housing at each of our campuses for the past two years.  Unfortunately, we don’t have the same data at the ready for previous years.  Specifically on UC Davis, the campus is advancing with an RFP for two upcoming housing projects: http://studenthousingrfp.ucdsitefarm.acsitefactory.com/ .  In terms of the latest information on UCD’s LRDP, we suggest that you get in touch with our colleagues at the campus.
     
    Please let me know if I can be of further help.
     
    Best,
     
    Ricardo Vazquez
    Director of Media Relations, UCOP
    Office: (510) 987-0279
    Mobile: (510) 708-4832

    1. EricGudz

      Thanks Matt for the great info! It’s very helpful to see a snapshot of each university’s story side-by-side. I’m looking forward to engaging deeply with a few folks come September to put more pressure on the university.

    2. Eileen Samitz

      Matt,

      This table you posted is not reflective of the true numbers of how much student housing UCD is actually providing. The campus has repeatedly explained that they are providing 29% on campus housing and that data is on UCD LRDP update website. UCD’s data states is providing around 9,400 beds, not 11,453. The UCD campus housing office apparently includes the non-UCD owned “master-leased” apartments privately owned in the City in its data which misrepresents how many students that UCD actually is housing. This table you posted apparently is including the master-leased units in the City which are not owned by UCD. So it is not accurate.

      1. Matt Williams

        Eileen, if you have differences with the table, you will need to take those differences up with the UC Office of the President.  I am sure that Ricardo Vazquez will be glad to take your call and research any differences you believe exist.

        The reason I reached out to the UC Office of the President was to get their official numbers.  The person I contacted with my request was Ricardo’s boss, Dianne Klein, Press Secretary, Associate Vice President of Strategic Communications & Media Relations.   It doesn’t get any more official than that.

        If, as you have suggested the UCD numbers include master-leased beds, I suspect (but do not know for a fact) that all the campuses similarly include master-leased beds.  When you call Ricardo you can confirm if that is true.

        1. Eileen Samitz

          Matt,

          The “differences” (as I have explained) are on the web at the UCD LRDP update website.  The inaccurate table you posted falsely adding more than 2,000 students being housed by UCD, are in reality privately owned apartments in the City being “master leased” by UCD, which are therefore not owned by UCD.  Therefore, these apartments in the City being “master leased” by UCD should not be included as part of “students housed by UCD”. Current UCD LRDP update data on line states that only 9,400 students are housed by UCD, not 11,453.

        2. Matt Williams

          Eileen, again you are stating that the official UC Office of the President numbers are wrong/inaccurate.  That is an issue you are going to have to take up with the Office of the President.

          I asked the Office of the President for the official numbers, and they provided an electronic copy of their official document.  I then pasted that official document here on the Vanguard.  Nothing more, nothing less.

          If you believe those official numbers provided by the UC Office of the President are inaccurate, then I suggest you contact the Office of the President and take that issue up with them.  If/when they revise their numbers, you can provide those revised official numbers to all the Vanguard readers . . . and interested parties everywhere.

        3. Ron

          Matt:  I see no reason for Eileen to “take up the issue”, with anyone.  She’s merely pointing something out. Even if Eileen (or anyone) were to contact UC, they may, or may not want to acknowledge the impacts of master leases regarding the numbers that you forwarded and posted.

        4. Roberta Millstein

          Agreed, Matt.  What’s your point?  Eileen has given evidence that the data you cite are mistaken.  What difference does it make that the false data are given by an official source?  You are clinging to a technicality instead of the evidence that is in front of you.  That is not data-driven analysis.

        5. Matt Williams

          Roberta, I’m not sure what analysis you are referring to. There is absolutely zero analysis the sentence, “In an attempt to understand the actual UC system-wide and campus-specific housing information I contacted the UC Office of the President and they sent me the following response:” 

          I crafted that sentence carefully to ensure that the data spoke for itself. My goal was to be 100% dispassionate.

          With that said, any and all readers of the data are welcome to interpret it any way they want to … or not interpret it at all … but I purposely chose not to do so myself.

          Eileen’s point appears to be that I should never have shared the data.  Her specific words above are that I “posted falsely” the data. Perhaps she can clarify what part(s) of my actions were “false.”

          As I have said several times, the question of whether the data is false or accurate is one that only the UC Office of the President can resolve for her.  I’m not clinging to anything, I am simply pointing her in the correct direction to a source that actually can address her issue … the very same source that provided the data in the first place.

        6. Roberta Millstein

          Matt said, “I crafted that sentence carefully to ensure that the data spoke for itself.”  The data never actually speak for themselves, but let’s set that aside.  The data are false.  Eileen has explained why they are false and gave evidence that they are false.  She need take no further action unless she wants to, but you should not continue to promulgate data that have been shown to be false.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            I agree with Eileen and Roberta here. The issue is how many people are housed on campus. By adding in master leased houses that are not on campus, UC Davis is painting a misleading picture of what is going on.

        7. Matt Williams

          Roberta and David, the data provided is for all the UC campuses, and based on the information provided by the UC Office of the President, all the campuses include master leased housing.  The information is what it is.  Asking the Office of the President to provide another version of the report that asks each campus to specifically exclude master-leased units is an option.

          What is quite interesting (to me) is that the reason I asked for the official numbers had nothing to do with any of the dialogue that Eileen’s objection has spawned.  I wanted to better understand the facts behind Greg Rowe’s anecdotal assertion that (many) other UC campuses are providing over 50% of their enrollment with housing.  The table has been very useful in illuminating that anecdotal assertion.

          Roberta, the numbers aren’t false, they simply aren’t presented in the context that you and Eileen feel are most appropriate given the political war that you are waging.  The table clearly states “Number of Students Housed.”  Nothing more, nothing less.  If it said “Number of Students Housed On-Campus” then I would agree with you that the data is inaccurate.

          Perhaps the reason I can read the table as it is presented is because I am not at war with UCD.

          With that said, out of curiosity.  If you were teaching one of your courses and you had 20 students enrolled for a grade and 3 students auditing.  How many students would you say were “taking your class”?  Would “20” and “23” both be right answers, or would one of those answers be “false”?

        8. Ron

          Matt (from above):  “In an attempt to understand the actual UC system-wide and campus-specific housing information I contacted the UC Office of the President and they sent me the following response:”

          Title of Chart that Matt received, in response:  “Campuses currently house over one-third of students in University housing”

          If Eileen hadn’t clarified that these numbers include OFF-CAMPUS housing located in private developments (leased by the university, not available to non-students, and also not subject to payment of property taxes), it is not likely that anyone would know.  (Even those who are “not at war” with UCD, as Matt puts it.)

          City receives all of the costs, none of the benefits (taxes), and loses housing that’s needed for non-students. At the same time, the university claims that they are housing students in UNIVERSITY housing.

          This is a typical, nonsense exchange that Matt uniquely engages in (and refuses to let go).

           

           

        9. David Greenwald

          The problem Matt is that the information was not what it is, it was incomplete and somewhat misleading.

          Let me proffer an extreme example to illustrate my point.  Let’s say that UC Davis made an agreement to master lease an additional 5000 units from existing housing in the city.  So they can claim instead of 9000 or 11,000 on campus beds, they now claim they have 16,000.  The reality is that they haven’t changed the number of homes available by any real measure and so the 16,000 figure is misleading at best.  That’s what they are doing here.

        10. Roberta Millstein

          Matt, I am not “at war” with the university and I highly resent and object to your claim that I am.   See my comment below (posted earlier in time) about hoping for constructive dialogue with the new Chancellor.  Please avoid these sorts of inappropriate comments in the future.

          As for the rest of your post, Ron and David have explained well what is wrong with it, so I need not reiterate.

        11. Roberta Millstein

          And by the way, I’m fairly certain that Eileen isn’t “at war” with the university, either.  Rather, she is trying to get them to do the right thing for the students, for the City, the region and frankly (although they don’t seem to realize this) for the university.  You ought to respect that and not denigrate it, even if you disagree with it.  And please spare us any long dissertations on why it’s not insulting or problematic to suggest that we are “at war” with the university.  I’m not interested.

        12. Matt Williams

          Roberta, data absolutely does speak for itself.  What would make you think otherwise?

          For example, here is some data from the UCD website (from the Fee Assessment Status of Students tab of http://budget.ucdavis.edu/data-reports/high-level-dashboard.html).

          2016-17 UCD California (In-State) Resident Enrollment = 25,062

          2015-16 UCD California (In-State) Resident Enrollment = 24,683

          Does that data speak for itself?  Yes it does.

          Does that data answer all possible In-State Enrollment questions?  No it does not.  But it does answer the questions that it was intended to answer.

          The same is true of the UC Office of the President Housing data.  It answers the questions that the UC Office of the President was asking.  Does it answer all possible Housing questions?  No, it does not. But it does answer the questions that it was intended to answer.

        13. Matt Williams

          David said . . . “The problem Matt is that the information was not what it is, it was incomplete and somewhat misleading.

          Let me proffer an extreme example to illustrate my point.  Let’s say that UC Davis made an agreement to master lease an additional 5000 units from existing housing in the city.  So they can claim instead of 9000 or 11,000 on campus beds, they now claim they have 16,000.  The reality is that they haven’t changed the number of homes available by any real measure and so the 16,000 figure is misleading at best.  That’s what they are doing here.”

          David, your example flies in the face of basic real estate market realities.  Specifically, in every market in every community everywhere some residential units are owner-occupied, and some residential units are available for rent.  If a hypothetical landlord who has available 1,000 units of rental housing completes a transaction to increase their supply of available units to 1,500, do the people walking through the door of their rental office care whether those additional 500 units are owned outright or controlled under a lease agreement?  They don’t.  All they care about is the answer to the question, “Do you have any vacancies?”  Their interest is at a microeconomic level.  They don’t care about the macroeconomics of the entire rental market.

          The UCOP report is a microeconomic report.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Yours and Eileen’s and Roberta’s analysis of it is at a macroeconomic level.  Your analysis of it is also from a political perspective.  Do you think that it is a political document?

           

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            The error that you’re making is you think data “speak for themselves.” That is a false premise. Numbers are numbers, but it is improper science to simply take a dataset and let the data drive model. Precisely for reasons we are running into here.

        14. Ron

          Matt:  Are you, or are you not, engaging in an unnecessary battle, here?

          You already understand that the data from UC is misleading. (A better initial response to Eileen might have been, “good/important point”, along with a “thank you” for presenting evidence which supports that point.)

          Suggestion:  Let it go.

        15. Matt Williams

          Matt asked . . . “Roberta, are you, or are you not battling the University?”

          Roberta replied . . . “I am not.”

          Roberta, your definition of battle appears to be interesting.

          Is “trying to get them to do the right thing for the students, for the City, the region and frankly (although they don’t seem to realize this) for the university” not a long series of battles?

          Was Bernie Sanders’ 2015-16 campaign not a long series of battles?

          Was the recent California Democratic Convention not a series of battles?

        16. Jim Hoch

          “By adding in master leased houses that are not on campus, UC Davis is painting a misleading picture of what is going on.”

          Not sure I agree with that at all. They may have collected and aggregated for a different purpose, for example to provide potential students with housing information, and not for a town/gown confrontation.

          That does not mean the data is “misleading” it just means it is not the right data to answer the question you have.

        17. Roberta Millstein

          Roberta, your definition of battle appears to be interesting.
          Is “trying to get them to do the right thing for the students, for the City, the region and frankly (although they don’t seem to realize this) for the university” not a long series of battles?

          If you think trying to persuade someone (or some organization) to do the right thing is being “at war,” or engaging in constructive dialogue is being “at war,” then it is you who has a strange sense of what war is.

        18. Roberta Millstein

          Matt, so, you’re changing your claim from “at war” to “war of words” now?  Those two things are very different. Had you said “war of words” from the outset, I would not have reacted as I did.

          That being said, I am loathe to use words of fighting, battle, etc., to describe what I think is more productively understood as a process of mutual understanding, persuasion, and the finding & pursuit of common goals.  “War of words” is unnecessarily combative and can be counter-productive.

        19. Matt Williams

          Roberta, if you check back at my statement, my reference to being at war, or not was a reference to myself.  Since I was referring to myself, I completely understood my intended meaning.  I “claimed” nothing about anyone other than myself.

          With that said, referring to myself with the expression “engaged in a war of words” would clearly have been less incendiary than the expression “at war.”  I apologize if my less than ideal choice of words caused you to make the inference that you did.

          With that said, do you really see the dialogue with UCD as a “process of mutual understanding, persuasion, and the finding & pursuit of common goals”?   I would be more inclined to refer to it as a standoff or impasse.

           

        20. Roberta Millstein

          Unbelievable, Matt.  Your words were plain and now you are trying to disavow having said them at all.

          do you really see the dialogue with UCD as a “process of mutual understanding, persuasion, and the finding & pursuit of common goals”

          Yes.

        21. Matt Williams

          Roberta, what have I disavowed saying?  I said precisely and exactly the following about myself.  “Perhaps the reason I can read the table as it is presented is because I am not at war with UCD.”  Nothing more, nothing less. My words are sitting there in the electronic record for all to see.  The link to my words is https://www.davisvanguard.org/2017/07/commentary-moral-imperative-student-housing/#comment-362033

          “A significant issue that needs to be addressed also, is that UCD’s negligence to provide the needed on-campus student housing is a major problem since UCD keeps trying to push its housing needs onto the City.”

          “The bottom line is that the need for the “50/100” plan has been proposed for more than a year, and now there are three separate resolutions asking for it as well as a public petition. In fact, even campus maps have been submitted by the community almost two years ago identifying many sites on the UCD campus where high density housing can, and should be located. So why is UCD continuing to delay adding the “50/100” plan as an equal weight EIR alternative?”

          “UCD needs to stop stalling and make some relevant progress after being given two years of input that they asked for when the UCD LRDP update began. With 5,300 acres, UCD has plenty of land and needs to go higher in density than the paltry proposals of 3- and “possibly” 4-stories on only some of their projects being planned. The obvious question is how is it that all the other UC’s are achieving their 50% on campus housing goals, yet UCD cannot seem to also accomplish what all the other UC’s are?”

          “Meanwhile, all we have so far is from UCD excuses with no good reasons why UCD has not gotten past their inadequate “40/90” plan for over a year. Their lack of sincerity on solving the student housing problem is reflected in their continued resistance to adding an equal weigh alternative of the needed “50/100” plan in their ongoing Draft LRDP EIR analysis.”

          Mutual understanding?

          Pursuit of common goals?

           

      2. Howard P

        The inaccurate table you posted falsely 

        Guess I’m not as smart as I thought I was… appears to be a double negative, or a truism.  Clarification might be useful… but then again, perhaps not…

  8. Ron

    One thing that I fail to understand is the reason that “online education” (especially at public universities) apparently hasn’t “caught on”, more than it has.  This essentially allows students and faculty much more flexibility, regarding housing location.  It also allows potentially allows students to learn at their own pace (including repetition of lectures/lessons, as needed), at times that are convenient to them.

    Online education also has the potential to reduce costs (and totally eliminate “closure” of classes, due to overcrowding), essentially eliminating enrollment caps.  One instructor can potentially teach thousands, at once.  (Of course, fewer instructors, support, and infrastructure are needed with online education.)

    Seems that private universities have employed online education to a far greater degree, than public universities. I hate to say it, but I wonder about the motivation for (apparently) not taking full advantage of this technology, at public universities.

    I realize that online education does not work well for some applications.  However, it certainly could be employed to a much greater degree than it has.

    For those who state that this eliminates one-on-one contact, I don’t recall instructors having much time for that during my college days.

    1. Don Shor

      Seems that private universities have employed online education to a far greater degree, than public universities.

      Surprisingly, the growth appears to be faster in the public sector than in the private sector, at least according to this data.
      https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2016-02-09/study-enrollment-in-online-learning-up-except-at-for-profits
      My son’s girlfriend got her entire degree from San Jose State without ever setting foot on the campus.

    2. Howard P

      Ron… the important “one-to-one” connection available only “on campus”, is only slightly due to the “profs”… it goes far beyond what one could get ‘on-line’…

  9. Tia Will

    Despite the City of Davis believing that students are inferior life forms”

    “..the City of Davis” as an entity has no ability to believe or disbelieve anything. Only individual humans ( and perhaps some animals) are capable of having beliefs and I know of no one who believes that students are inferior life forms. Your inflammatory rhetoric does nothing to move the conversation forward. Housing is a difficult and I believe shared responsibility between the university and the surrounding communities. I also think that while it may be satisfying to say we ( both town and university) should have addressed this 10 or even 20 years ago, we did not, so that also does not move us forward. I also do not think it helps in this discussion to pretend a the city and developers have not made efforts to address the problem from the city side. We have the development moving forward at the previous Families First site and hopefully the Lincoln 40 site which I tentatively support.

    1. Jim Hoch

      I have decided to be an “activist” and am now entitled to speak on behalf of large groups of people who have never heard of me. It’s written on my “Activist” badge.

  10. Matt Williams

    David Greenwald said . . . “The numbers quite simply do not add up.  And the result is going to be a moral crisis, the likes of which we do not fully comprehend.

    The problem that we face now is a numbers game – of which we are on the wrong side.

    By our calculations if the university only supplies 90 percent of new students with on-campus housing, they are actually making the problem that we face in Davis and in the region that much worse.”

    There is ABOLUTELY no question in my mind that UC Davis needs to build more housing . . . ideally with density similar to the recent projects at other UC campuses.

    However, David’s statement indicts UCD as the guilty party in creating this “numbers” problem.  A comparison of the historical population of Davis and the historical enrollment of UC Davis over time shows that UCD has not created this problem by themselves.  The City of Davis has plenty of ownership of the problem as well.

    As the two tables below show, during the 1970 through 2015 period UCD and the City grew at virtually identical rates. The average annual population growth of the City of Davis at 2.380% (26.5% on average each decade) was slightly higher than UCD’s 2.205% , but with a significant decline toward the end of the period.

    ________ UC Davis _______ 10-year
    Year ____Enrollment _____ % Increase

    1970 ____ 12,941
    1980 ____ 18,370 ___________ 42%
    1990 ____ 23,318 ___________ 27%
    2000 ____ 25,075 ____________ 8%
    2010 ____ 30,449 ___________ 21%
    2015 ____ 34,535 ___________ 13%
    2027 ____ 41,405 (projected) __ 20%

    —————————————————————–

    ___________ Davis ________ 10-year
    Census __ Population _____ % Increase

    1970 ____ 23,488
    1980 ____ 36,640 __________ 56%
    1990 ____ 46,209 __________ 26%
    2000 ____ 60,308 __________ 31%
    2010 ____ 65,622 ___________ 8%
    2015 ____ 67,666 (est) _______ 6%
    2027 ____ ?????? _________ ??%

    When you put those two sets of numbers together into a side-by-side comparison, you get the following:

    ___________ Davis_______Enrollment as_____UC Davis
    Census __ Population___a % of Population___Enrollment

    1970 ____ 23,488 __________ 55% _________ 12,941
    1980 ____ 36,640 __________ 50% _________ 18,370
    1990 ____ 46,209 __________ 50% _________ 23,318
    2000 ____ 60,308 __________ 42% _________ 25,075
    2010 ____ 65,622 __________ 46% _________ 30,449
    2015 ____ 67,666 (est) ______ 51% _________ 34,535
    2027 ____ xx,xxx ___________ xx% _________ 41,405 (proj)

    What those side-by-side numbers tell us is that UCD continuing to execute on the model that has worked so well for them from 1970 through present.  The City of Davis, on the other hand, has chosen to change its model from the 20th Century decades into a radically different model in the 21st Century decades.

    1. Eileen Samitz

      Matt,

      You are completely missing the point. UCD has not produced the needed on-campus housing for its accelerated student population growth. At this point they are pushing at least 71% of their students off campus after their freshman year. That is unacceptable and incredibly irresponsible of UCD and ridiculous for them to expect for it be acceptable by its students and surrounding cities suffering the consequences.

      1. Matt Williams

        Eileen, looking at the historical enrollment data from 1970 to present, is UCD’s student population growth actually accelerated?

        UCD’s historical average from 1970 through present is a 26.5% increase per decade, which is actually higher than the 20% per decade growth rate they project for the 2015 through 2027 period.

        With that said, let me repeat, there is ABSOLUTELY no question in my mind that UC Davis needs to build more housing . . . ideally with density similar to the recent projects at other UC campuses.

  11. Ron

    David:  “I also don’t understand why you’re pushing a suboptimal solution to the current problem.”

    I’m going to take a shot again at a response (to a statement that was directed to Jim).

    I’m not sure that Jim is “pushing” a solution, so much as acknowledging a reality.  This reality will remain in place (to some degree) regardless of what’s realistically built in Davis, or on campus.  In general, housing in Davis (whether it’s in the city, or on campus) will likely remain more costly than housing in nearby communities (where the vacancy rate fluctuates more, as well).

  12. Ron

    Jim:  “IMO the optimal solution is to build housing along 5th street which is currently given over to blight, the city yard and the trailer park.”

    There’s a small “red barn” on that street (not sure I’d call it, or anything else on that street “blight”), which I hope remains there, along with a community garden. 🙂 Not sure where you’d relocate the “city yard”.

    I suspect that you’re on the losing side (at least temporarily), regarding efforts to evict Rancho Yolo residents. (Man, I can just envision how that would play out in the media.)

  13. Eileen Samitz

    David,

    Good article, and I agree completely that UCD needs to stop stalling and make some relevant progress after being given two years of input that they asked for when the UCD LRDP update began. With 5,300 acres, UCD has plenty of land and needs to go higher in density than the paltry proposals of 3- and “possibly” 4-stories on only some of their projects being planned. The obvious question is how is it that all the other UC’s are achieving their 50% on campus housing goals, yet UCD cannot seem to also accomplish what all the other UC’s are? Perhaps it is time for UCD to reach out to these other UC’s to learn how they have been successful, and then bring in the help they need to accomplish getting this task done if their current staff can’t.

    Regarding funding, ALL the other UC’s are facing the same funding issues that UCD is, yet UC they are still producing on-campus housing for at least 50% of their total student populations. Further, UCD has over $1 BILLION in endowment funding, far more than the vast majority of public institutions nationwide, and not all of it is ear-tagged.  Instead of fundraising for the critically student housing needed, they fund raise for art museums and music recital centers.

    So why doesn’t have an option for donations for a student housing fund? Shaun Keister was hired by Katehi in 2011 for fundraising for the UCD Foundation as Vice Chancellor for Development and Alumni Relations with a starting salary of $335,000. Keister, only 6 years later, is now making $445,443! So, with all of this very highly paid CEO UCD administrative manpower for fundraising, why isn’t there a student housing donation fund for the critically needed on-campus student housing? This type of outreach can and has worked on other campuses. USC got a $30 million donation in 2014 for student housing and another $15 million for student housing recently which is producing thousands of student beds.

    Clearly, if UCD doesn’t even try to reach out for funding, obviously they won’t get it. But then, is UCD really trying to accomplish producing far more on campus housing that is needed like the “50/100” plan would provide? UCD certainly seems to have plenty of funding for what it wants to accomplish like new art museums and art centers, but not for critically needed on-campus student housing so far to address their student’s needs.

     Meanwhile, all we have so far is from UCD excuses with no good reasons why UCD has not gotten past their inadequate “40/90” plan for over a year. Their lack of sincerity on solving the student housing problem is reflected in their continued resistance to adding an equal weigh alternative of the needed “50/100” plan in their ongoing Draft LRDP EIR analysis. UCD has not yet added this needed equal weight alternative in to their LRDP Draft EIR in progress despite separate resolutions from our City Council, the UCD ASUCD student senate, and now the Yolo County Board of Supervisors. UCD has even been given detailed maps and proposals from the community for over a year identifying where higher density on campus housing can go. Yet, they have not used any of it and they haven’t explained why.

    I agree that UCD needs to stop with the delays and heel-dragging and get the solutions moving forward. UCD is currently forcing 71% of its housing needs off campus after freshman year which is irresponsible of UCD, unreasonable for UCD to expect to continue imposing, and is unsustainable planning.

  14. Alan Miller

    As they say on say on Sesame Street:  ‘This crisis is brought to you by the letter “R” .’

    And the letter “R” is breaking the backs of students, and is brought to you by:

    • Greedhead large scale rental-property owners.

    • House owners who want their property values inflated.

    • Utopian Cyber Zombies who believe Davis doesn’t have to grow when everything around it, and in it, is growing.

     

    “True”, but the result is skyrocketing rents and broken students.  Not those with rich parents, the others.

     

    The problem will not be solved, no matter how many articles are written over the next three decades.  We simply can’t keep up.  Our future is mushroom-sprouting,  over-dense, planning-by-exception s**t projects and break-the-back rents.

     

    Nice going, Utopian Cyber Hippies.  This is your world now.

    1. Ron

      Alan:  “Utopian Cyber Hippies”?  🙂

      Davis is growing, and is meeting its SACOG “fair share” growth requirements. Separate from those requirements, a large “rent-by-the-room” apartment complex (Sterling), which is targeted almost exclusively at the student market, has recently been approved. (I would argue that there was a “cost” in doing so, but that’s already been discussed.)

      I recall reading an article which stated that enrollment (for California resident students) had been dropping in the UC system.  Most of the projected growth at UC / UCD is due to their pursuit of International students (who pay triple the tuition costs).  In looking at Eileen’s postings (above), it appears that UCD is not exactly short on funds.  (As previously noted on the Vanguard, there is also at least one large company which apparently builds student housing on campuses around the country, at no cost to the host university.)

      The effort to encourage UCD to build sufficient housing on campus is not driven by “greed”.  The city of Davis (which is a separate entity) has a right to determine it’s own amount of growth/development.

       

       

      1. Alan Miller

        In no way did I imply the effort to build housing on campus was fueld by greed.  Housing is needed all over.

        Nor is everyone who voted for Measure R a greedhead.  Those who organized for R to keep value of their properties — or those who are keeping value of their home up not considering the vacancy rate and associated rental prices.

        1. Ron

          Alan:  “In no way did I imply the effort to build housing on campus was fueled by greed.”

          Noted.  However, some seem to forget that some of the same people who support slow growth (including Measure R) also seem to be among those most involved with encouraging more housing on campus (where it generally works best for everyone – including students).

          Increasing the amount of housing on campus should have the same impact on the overall housing market (e.g., availability and rental prices) as it would if it were located within the city.  (But, with fewer impacts for everyone – including students who would avoid a “commute” through the city, or from beyond.)

          I’m not as heavily involved with the issue (or individuals) regarding slow growth as it might seem – based on my comments.  However, the few individuals I’ve met over the years do not appear to be driven by greed, nor do they seem particularly wealthy. (Perhaps your comment regarding “Utopian Cyber Hippies” is not that far off, and is perhaps more of a “complement” regarding motivations.)

           

        2. Howard P

          Ron… do you understand how “commute” trips compare to “other trips”?

          including students who would avoid a “commute” through the city, or from beyond.

          “trip generation” (trips on city streets), whatever mode, has a minimal amount to do with what ‘invisible line’ there is between housing on-campus and off-campus.  Particularly MV trips, for students who own cars and have that as their preferred mode. Lame ‘argument’…

          Will refrain from being “saltier”…

           

        3. Ron

          Howard:  “Commute”, in this case, defined as going back-and-forth between classes and home (which can occur several times/day).  (Thought that was pretty obvious from my posting.)

          Not motor vehicle trips “off-campus” (which are probably/generally less-frequent), from wherever students are allowed to park cars.

        4. Howard P

          Ron… guess I missed your point, as even when I lived a mile away from campus, I had no car.  I scheduled my classes keeping that in mind.

          Very few students ‘commute’ by MV to class several times a day… perhaps you did… they certainly do not park on campus if they do… unless they or their parents have a lot of money… I didn’t and my parents didn’t have that kind of $.

          Believe that UCD has done several studies on trips/parking over the years… read any of them?  Your premise is false.

        5. Ron

          Howard:  What makes you think that I was defining “commute” (between campus/home) as limited to motor vehicles?  Don’t bicycles (traveling through impacted intersections between campus and home) “count”?  If those same bicyclists don’t have to leave campus for the same type of “commute”, is that not safer and less impactful (compared to the alternative)?

          Also – your statement appears to include an assumption that students would live in Davis (within “bicycling distance”), if sufficient housing isn’t built on campus.  I’m less certain of this, than you apparently are. (And, some students probably do drive, even from within Davis.)

          This isn’t the first time I’ve noted these differences (between off-campus, vs. on-campus housing), on the Vanguard.

          Is there anything else you’d like to misunderstand?

        6. Ron

          To further clarify:  When referring to “safety”, I’m also thinking of pedestrians downtown, trying to safely cross the street at busy intersections, while bicyclists blow through stop signs within inches of pedestrians.

          Should become even more “interesting”, as the cohort of permanent residents continues to age.

        7. Ron

          Adding to the “fun” – more residences (and people moving about) downtown, thrown into the mix.

          You might want to get a window seat at a coffee shop or restaurant just to watch the (planned/future) interactions between autos, bicyclists, and pedestrians, especially downtown.  Might even be entertaining, until someone gets hurt.

          In a somewhat related online conversation with Todd the other day, I described my own experiences in Davis (as a pedestrian) with bicyclists traveling at high rates of speed down pedestrian/bicycle overpasses, within inches of me. Once, a person who was with me asked, “what would happen if we stopped to tie our shoes”? Needless to say, we remained on a high state of alert.

           

  15. Roberta Millstein

    Thank you for this excellent commentary, David.  I’m glad to see the emphasis on the moral imperative here.  Exactly so.  I hope that when Chancellor May arrives, there can be some constructive dialogue between him, students, members of the community, and City Council members on this issue.  What I have read about him gives me hope that, presented in the right way (and your commentary is an example of what I take to be the “right way”) he will see the important of UCD taking on more housing and will make it a campus priority.

  16. Ron

    Some excerpts from today’s Sacramento Bee:

    UC Davis is scouring the globe to find its next students.

    Among the nine University of California campuses that enrolls undergraduates, UC Davis admitted the highest number of international students for the upcoming school year, according to admissions data released Thursday.

    Out of nearly 14,000 international applicants, UC Davis accepted 8,415 students, an admit rate of 60.4 percent. By comparison, 18,480 California residents were accepted from the 51,425 who applied – a success rate of 35.9 percent. The number of residents admitted was slightly down compared to 2016, in line with the overall trend at other campuses.

    Asked Thursday to respond to the surge in international admissions relative to other campuses, Ebony Lewis, the school’s executive director of undergraduate admissions, said: “Those are decisions that are made in consultation with our leadership.”

    Stephen Handel, associate vice president for undergraduate admissions at the UC Office of the President, said the admissions goals are a local affair. “It’s the campuses’ call in determining where they want to create the mix,” he said.

    UC Davis has doubled down on recruitment in China, the primary source of the international student body. Nearly 2,000 undergraduates from mainland China attended the campus in 2015, up from a mere 68 in 2009, according to university officials. The school has hired a recruiter that is based in Hong Kong.

    The professor said he has also noticed a troubling trend, that the university is attracting wealthy students – the so-called “rich second generation” – who tend to care less about their studies.

    Those students are the offspring of entrepreneurs and business owners who have cultivated new wealth in the past decade with the opening up of China’s economy to the world. Many of them return to China to take over the family enterprise.

    “Those are the people who believe, ‘My future is already set up, so I don’t necessarily have to stretch myself here,’ ” he said.

    http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article160029439.html

    1. Jim Hoch

      “The professor said he has also noticed a troubling trend, that the university is attracting wealthy students – the so-called “rich second generation” – who tend to care less about their studies.”

      This says a lot more about the professor than it does about the students.

       

       

        1. Ron

          Howard:  As someone like Matt might say, “take it up with the Sacramento Bee”.

          In any case, the main point of the article has to do with the percentages and acceptance rates of California residents (which actually DROPPED), vs. the surge in International students (who pay triple the amount of tuition).  Lots of “other” quotes to pick from, if you don’t like the one you mentioned.  Such as:

          “Among the nine University of California campuses that enrolls undergraduates, UC Davis admitted the highest number of international students for the upcoming school year, according to admissions data released Thursday.”

        2. Eileen Samitz

          I saw this new info on the TV news last night and appreciate Ron sharing the Sac Bee article. The parents interviewed (which were touring UCD since their son had applied to UCD) on the news piece talked to the camera asking UCD to please not exclude accepting their son by, instead, preferentially accepting non-residents students.

          Non-resident students need to have access to on-campus housing the entire four or more years that they attend UCD since they are hundreds to many thousands of miles from family and friends. In addition, for many non-resident students, english would be their second language plus they would be living in a very new and different culture.  So, having a more nurturing environment with on-campus housing to allow them to adapt to all of this, is the only logical way to properly plan for such an influx of non-resident students at UCD. Yet, UCD is not doing adequate planning nor pacing the provision of the on-campus student housing needs for their own ambitious and accelerated growth.

        3. Jim Hoch

          “Non-resident students need to have access to on-campus housing the entire four or more years that they attend UCD since they are hundreds to many thousands of miles from family and friends.”

           

          Do not understand this at all. Do you think students from San Diego live at home and commute everyday?

        4. Roberta Millstein

          I think the point is that at least some (perhaps many — I don’t know the numbers) of CA residents can live w/family and friends near to Davis, and that international students might tend to be be more psychologically/practically in need of on campus housing because they are navigating a new culture in addition to everything else.

        5. Eileen Samitz

          “Non-resident students need to have access to on-campus housing the entire four or more years that they attend UCD since they are hundreds to many thousands of miles from family and friends.”

          Jim and David,

          I am referring to the Sac Bee article explaining that a very large number of international and out-of-state students have been accepted by UCD. So the international students in particular, would be much better served by UCD to be provide them with the ability to reside on-campus the entire four or more years that they attend UCD since they are so far from home.

          In addition, international students have more challenges attending American universities, like English being their second language more often than not and adjusting to a new culture as Roberta pointed out. In addition, allowing students to live close to their classrooms reduces their commuting needs as well. This commuting issue is an important reason for more on-campus housing needed for resident students as well as non-resident students.

        6. Jim Hoch

          “So the international students in particular, would be much better served by UCD to be provide them with the ability to reside on-campus the entire four or more years that they attend UCD since they are so far from home.”

          I cannot disagree with this statement more emphatically. I know a lot of Chinese people including students and parents of students. Universally they would like to live as Americans to broaden their horizons and better understand our culture. Why do you think they want to live in an academic  ghetto?  Do you have any evidence at all that this is true?

        7. Ron

          Jim:  Perhaps you and Eileen both have a point.

          However, the “bigger” question for me is why the city of Davis needs to accommodate UCD’s plans to pursue students from other countries (who have the ability to pay a MUCH higher tuition), while dumping the associated costs and responsibilities upon the city?  (All while accepting California residents at a greatly reduced rate, and a reduced total number.)

          Make no mistake about it – this is the “reason” for the so-called housing crisis, in Davis. UCD is no longer serving the public purpose for which it was created (at least, to some degree).

          UCD is behaving much like a private business, in their pursuit for $.  However, some in Davis are not holding them to the same standard as a private business.

          As another commenter once said, when UCD says “jump”, some say, “how high?”

           

           

        8. Jim Hoch

          Ron,

          If you want to create an economic base in Davis then “rich” is better than “deserving”. Foreign students have relatively high disposable incomes and do not burden the town with many needs.

          I find it curious that we are buying, through affordable housing, high need/low income residents and are protesting against high income/low need residents.

          No wonder the town is broke.

        9. Ron

          Jim:  Housing is generally a long-term “money-loser” for the city, regardless of the occupants. If UCD assumed the costs and responsibilities of providing housing for students (instead of just collecting money from them, and shoving costs and responsibilities upon the city), those same students would still likely patronize local businesses, off-campus.

          Some interesting articles regarding state audit reports, regarding UC’s money management. Perhaps these recommendations should be looked into, before concluding that UC needs all of the funds that it’s pursuing from International students.

          http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article68782827.html

          http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article146660529.html

        10. Ron

          The city hasn’t even performed a much-needed re-examination of development fees for apartment complexes.  In spite of that, it was “full speed ahead” regarding Sterling, for example. Perhaps Lincoln 40 will be next?

          Some have gone so far as to try to describe the amount of development fees collected for apartment complexes as a “social issue”, rather than a financial issue.  (Regardless of the income/wealth of the planned occupants.)

          At times, I get disgusted at the lack of honesty that’s sometimes demonstrated, on the Vanguard. (Usually, from the same bunch, over-and-over.) I sometimes wonder if anyone reads this blog, other than to make ridiculous arguments? (Not thinking of Jim, when I say this.)

        11. Jim Hoch

          Ron, “Housing is generally a long-term “money-loser” for the city” this is the general rule I agree. That being said we are expending public funds to import people who have a demonstrated propensity to need police intervention. 

          “those same students would still likely patronize local businesses, off-campus” If they are in fact on campus and proximate to businesses here. While I may be coming into this late it does not look like the “screaming at UCD” approach is bearing much fruit. But maybe tomorrow…

        12. Mark West

          Jim Hoch: “I know a lot of Chinese people including students and parents of students. Universally they would like to live as Americans to broaden their horizons and better understand our culture.”

          This has been my experience as well, and not just with those coming from China. Those international students that I have gone to school with, and later, worked with, were not interested in living on campus. They valued living in the community and considered it part of their educational experience. I think Eileen’s argument is just a fantasy.

  17. Matt Williams

    David Greenwald said . . . “The error that you’re making is you think data “speak for themselves.” That is a false premise. Numbers are numbers, but it is improper science to simply take a dataset and let the data drive model. Precisely for reasons we are running into here.”

    Drive what model?  Into what model has the UC Office of the President plugged  the 94,856 “Number of Students Housed”?

    Who do you think the audience was that UC Office of the President was communicating to when they assembled the “Campuses currently provide …” table?

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      You’re asking the wrong questions. You’re providing the wrong data to address the question at hand which is how many student beds are on campus.

      1. Matt Williams

        David, you are framing your digestion of the table and acceptance of its contents from a Davis perspective rather than from an Oakland perspective.  Do you believe the table was created in Oakland to communicate to the residents of Davis? If you believe the answer to that question is “Yes, it was created to communicate to the residents of Davis” then why hasn’t the Office of the President distributed the table to the residents of Davis?

        That brings me around full circle to the question I posed to you above, “Who do you think the audience for the table was when it was created?”

        ————

        With that said, if you really want to go by “the question at hand” standard, when I contacted the UCOP Media Relations Department the question I was looking to answer was whether any of the ten UC campuses housed 50% of their students.  20/20 hindsight tells me that it is a shame that I did not explain that “question at hand” in my original post; however, I suspect the battle over whether the data provided by UCOP was “false” would have raged regardless.  More and more we live in a binary world.

        1. Eileen Samitz

          Matt,

          David has explained his point repeatedly and he is correct. The point is that the data in the chart that you posted does not reflect the number of beds provided by UCD on-campus. The true data that is relevant is the 9,400 beds that UCD is providing which amounts to only 29% of their three-quarter average of their campus student population.

           

        2. Matt Williams

          Eileen, I have never disputed your point.  Nowhere in the chart does it say, represent or imply that the numbers are for on-campus housing.

          With that said, if you are a parent of a prospective UC student, and you want to understand the housing availability for your child at the various UC campuses, do you care about anything other than availability?

          Y’all are treating this chart as if it is a campaign statement by UCD.  Other than me, do you know of a single Davis resident who has seen this chart or the data that is contained in it?

          If Greg Rowe ( a very informed person on the UCD housing battles) had had access to this chart, do you think he would have made the statement that many of the UC campuses are providing 50% or more of their students with housing?

          When you brought up the flaw you saw in the chart, I pointed you to the same source I got the chart from.  If you ask him, I suspect he may be able to assemble a chart that shows the percentages by campus for on-campus housing only.  You chose not to take that advice when I gave it the first time.  Perhaps you may be more inclined to take it now.

    2. Matt Williams

      Eileen, I think there is an easy way to modify your objection, and put this whole issue to bed.  All you need to say is that, From the Davis community perspective, the UC Office of the President asked the UC campuses to answer the wrong question.  They should not have asked each of the ten campuses, “What is the number of students housed by UC ____?”  They should actually have asked each of the ten campuses, “What is the number of students housed by UC ____ on-campus?”

      While we are on the subject of false data, what does the chart tell you about your comment earlier in this thread that “The obvious question is how is it that all the other UC’s are achieving their 50% on campus housing goals, yet UCD cannot seem to also accomplish what all the other UC’s are?” (see https://www.davisvanguard.org/2017/07/commentary-moral-imperative-student-housing/#comment-361955)

  18. Ron

    Jim (quoting another commenter):  “By adding in master leased houses that are not on campus, UC Davis is painting a misleading picture of what is going on.”

    Jim’s response: “Not sure I agree with that at all. They may have collected and aggregated for a different purpose, for example to provide potential students with housing information, and not for a town/gown confrontation.

    That does not mean the data is “misleading” it just means it is not the right data to answer the question you have.”

    I think that Jim may have this right.  Perhaps the data was (originally) collected to show how much housing UC controlled, and not necessarily to differentiate between housing on campus, vs. “master-leased” housing, off-campus.  (However, if UC or UCD subsequently referred to this data to “prove” how much housing they’re providing on-campus, then it would be completely misleading.)

    In looking at Matt’s latest arguments, it seems that he’s making the same point.  (I did not gather that, from his earlier arguments.)

     

    1. Eileen Samitz

      Matt,

      What you are not considering is that UCD is supposed to be releasing their “master leases” at some point since the City complained to them formally about this. So prospective students cannot count on those beds necessarily.

      The issue here is having a clear understanding of how many beds UCD is providing on-campus and that is 9,400 by their own data.

      1. Ron

        Eileen:  Now you’ve done it.  You’ve probably instigated another never-ending (and ultimately useless) exchange with Matt, again. (With the main point blurred, as exchanges go on.)

        P.S. – I think you posted this under the incorrect comment (mine).  If we’re lucky, Matt won’t even see it. 🙂

      2. Matt Williams

        Eileen Samitz said … “The issue here is having a clear understanding of how many beds UCD is providing on-campus and that is 9,400 by their own data.”

        I agree with you 100% Eileen that the issue “here” in the Davis community dialogue space is as you have described it. However, the germane question is whether the UC employees in Oakland created the chart as a communication tool with the people “here” in the Davis community.

        For the sake of discussion, let’s assume that the chart was created to communicate with the people “here” in the Davis community, which begs the question, “If they created it to communicate with Davis, why have they never used it to communicate with Davis?”

        You are treating the chart as if it is a propaganda piece in a war of words.  There is no evidence that it is either a propaganda piece, or that its intended audience is people “here” in Davis.

        Your point about the possibility that master-leased housing will go away is a good one, and I suspect that that is the reason why the UC Office of the President updates the chart each academic year. Housing going away is not limited to master-leases. Orchard Park is a perfect example of on-campus housing that has recently gone away.

        1. Ron

          Not bad, Matt.  Reiterates the point that Jim made. Much more focused and responsive regarding the main point, compared to your earlier exchanges, especially with Roberta.

          The following shuld be noted, regarding your comment:

          Hopefully, “master leases” (if they’re ever gone) won’t be coming back.  However, Orchard Park (in some form) will be.

        2. Ron

          Of course, the reason for Matt’s original posting remains unclear, especially if he already knew that it wouldn’t answer the “question at hand” for most Vanguard readers, and could therefore be easily misunderstood.

  19. Jim Hoch

    Thanks Ron,

    Ultimately I believe the data is irrelevant, especially as the article is framed as a “Moral Imperative”

    The mission of UC is to conduct research and educate students. Housing is an issue to the extent that affordability/availability prevent students from learning. Affordability and availability are different issues but both are important. Urban campuses have high availability but low affordability. Other campuses, like UCSB have availability issues, there just is not that much housing in Goleta/SB.

    Given the issues with other campuses how can anyone say it’s a “Moral Imperative” to build on-campus housing @UCD when students at other campuses face much more severe challenges?

    1. Ron

      Jim:  I think your last point is a more complex one, and interacts with plans to increase enrollment (especially via International students – and prioritizing them over California resident students), availability of funds, and the ability of housing contractors to cover construction costs via rent collected, over a period of time.

      As you noted, it also depends upon the “broader” housing market, surrounding each university.

      1. Ron

        Forgot to mention:  It also depends upon how UC is using the funds it receives.  (As noted in my earlier links above and elsewhere, the state auditor had concerns regarding that issue.)

        If they’re pursuing International students in lieu of controlling costs, then that adds to the concern.

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