University Senate                                                                                  Proposed: February 1, 2008









WHEREAS      it is the Committee on Housing Policy’s mandate to “review and recommend policies relating to housing provided to University students, faculty and other employees, including those pertaining to rent or occupancy charges, the assignment of housing..,” and


WHEREAS      the administration has not made public any long–term financial plan for university housing, and


WHEREAS      the Housing Committee has been provided with financial data with regards to University Housing but not a corresponding policy, and


WHEREAS      the appropriate use of rental income versus other financial sources to fund the capital expenditures of university housing has not been examined, and


WHEREAS      the University raised rents by 5% in 2006-7 and again in 2007-8 with projected increases of similar amounts at least until 2010 thereby outpacing inflation, and


WHEREAS      the cumulative rental increases will undermine the University’s efforts toward the retention and recruitment of faculty and students,


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED       that the University Senate calls on the administration to develop a policy that addresses the need to cover capital expenses without reliance on escalating rental income; and,  


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED            that the University Senate calls on the administration to report its formal policy to the Housing Committee by April 1, 2008 after which time the Housing Committee will report to the University Senate at its next plenary; and,


BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED            that in the event that the University does not report on its policy by April 1, 2008, that rental increases for FY2008/2009 should be capped at a level defined by the consumer price index for urban areas (CPIU) averaged over the period 2002-2007.


Proponent: Housing Policy Committee



Date: January 31, 2008

To: University Senate

From: Craig Schwalbe, Co-chair, Housing Committee
            Paige Lampkin, Co-chair, Housing Committee

RE: Resolution to Develop a Policy for Allocation of Rental Income

At the ___(date)_____ plenary the housing committee brought forth a resolution that addressed the issue of university wide rent increases as well as the underlying question of the appropriateness of using rental income to finance capital expenditures. The concern at the time with that resolution was that while it sought merely to develop a reproducible policy for devising rental amounts and to quell the seemingly disproportionate rent increases, objections were raised by the administration and by individual senators about linking rental increases to median salary increases. The executive committee remanded the resolution to the Housing Committee in September for this reason. The Housing Committee deliberated on a revised resolution in consultation with representatives of the Executive Committee in October and voted on a revised resolution on December _____, 2007.

The proposed resolution addresses the concerns raised in the May ___ Senate plenary. As the new resolution is structured, it highlights the intent of the committee – to prompt a policy dialog within the administration regarding the appropriate financing mechanisms for long term capital improvements. Our recommendation is that such a policy should not rely on rental income to cover a facilities revenue gap. The committee’s concern about large rent increases anticipated over the next three years does not translate into a demand for rental rates at our prescription. Rather, the committee respectfully requests to view a formal policy as opposed to a general practice, and only failing that do we strongly recommend capping increases until said policy is developed.

The resolution is in no way an attempt to micromanage, but rather the rational outgrowth of nearly a year of deliberations, and a good faith effort on the committee’s part requesting the tools we need to do our due diligence.