Graduate students from the University of Oregon (UO) protested on Monday a decision by housing officials to delegate on-campus residential buildings for COVID-19 purposes.
The move means that certain students at the Graduate Village apartments will be unable to renew their leases, as entire sections of select on-campus residential buildings will be utilized for isolation and contact tracing for students infected with the coronavirus.
According to officials, this decision was made under the guidance of health authorities and the state. The full statement, made available on KLCC, revealed that residents were notified on May 22, and their leases will end on June 30. However, they may extend their rental contracts to July 31 if they need additional time to make the transition.
“In order to make this adjustment, our overall capacity for residents in Graduate Village will be reduced. Unfortunately, we will not be able to renew your Graduate Village contract for the upcoming 2021–22 academic year,” the UO housing department wrote in an email to students on Friday.
Students Against Relocating to New Residences
Students protested outside Johnson Hall, chanted slogans against University President Michael Schill with a few carrying signs and suitcases.
Netizens pointed out the difficulty of finding good housing around the Eugene area, especially on such short notice and so close to the end of the term.
International students, students of color, LGBTQ+ students, & students with disabilities face disproportionate rates of housing insecurity. UO Housing's intent to force students out of Graduate Village will directly contribute to housing inequality for minority and other groups. pic.twitter.com/vaObWBbWDV
— GTFF Disability Access Caucus (@DisabilityGTFF) May 24, 2021
.@uohousing have you ever tried to find affordable housing in Eugene? It takes months of planning to find a place we can afford on our meager GE salaries, and you expect Grad Village residents to do it the last weeks of term and in less than a month? Despicable.
— let's have a kiki (@meeshdre) May 24, 2021
UO reassured students that the administration will prioritize lease renewals for those who are closest to graduation, and that it will also work towards helping students who are not selected to renew their lease find alternative university housing options.
Their outlook on the situation appears to be positive, with UO spokesperson Kay Jarvis telling KEZI that they “anticipate all but a handful of the current graduate and law students will be able to renew their contracts and continue to live in Graduate Village.”
“The UO is committed to helping find other university housing options such as family housing and university apartments for any of the students who may need to move,” Jarvis added.