Elias Atienza is a history sophomore and Mustang News columnist. The views expressed in this column do not reflect the viewpoints and editorial coverage of Mustang News.
“Did I ever tell you what the definition of insanity is? Insanity is doing the exact … same fucking thing … over and over again expecting … shit to change … That. Is. Crazy,” “Far Cry 3”’s Vaas Montenegro said.
Cal Poly is experiencing a sort of wake up call. Eighty five percent of continuing students who applied to live in Poly Canyon Village (PCV) will have to live in a double. To counteract the overfilling, many people are expected to move into Mustang Village, which is more expensive. Others are scrambling on the internet to find a place that isn’t going to clean out their bank accounts or their piggy banks and force them to sell heroin to 5-year-olds on the dark web.
This is because Cal Poly accepted more freshmen than they were logistically prepared for. But if you hear the administration talk about it, it’s no problem! Oh sure, most people who were looking for a single room will have to move into Mustang Village, hope to God that there is something available off campus or move into a cramped PCV apartment housing six people in three rooms despite there being four rooms in each apartment.
It’s a problem that has been years in the making despite the progress Cal Poly has made by expanding on-campus housing, the new residence halls won’t be available until Fall 2018. Apparently, someone in the administration thought accepting 1,000 more freshmen per year before the new residence halls were set to open was a good idea, and the rest of us are going to pay the price for it.
Of course, the rest of San Luis Obispo isn’t happy about it either. They weren’t happy that Cal Poly wouldn’t cap enrollment back in 2016 and I don’t imagine they’re excited by the fact that there’s going to be 1,000 more students than last year. San Luis Obispo has always been a college town, as much as long-time residents hate to admit it, but there’s a reason why families move out and students move in: there’s not enough on-campus housing, so students spill into family neighborhoods.
There seems to be two solutions: capping enrollment and increasing on-campus housing. As much as on-campus housing can suck (I lived in PCV for two years) and how much Village Market and Campus Market rip students off, at least that’s a better solution than forcing students to go out and try to find housing off campus or cramming more students into PCV.
Current San Luis Obispo mayor Heidi Harmon has called for Cal Poly to increase on-campus housing. She also proposed other good ideas for increasing affordable housing, such as building tiny home communities. She’s also been open to exploring a cap on student enrollment, which should at least be debated by the city council.
Increasing enrollment without expanding housing options is irresponsible. It has been nothing but detrimental to Cal Poly. Not only is it unfair to students, it is also unfair to long-term residents of San Luis Obispo who are now being forced out. The administration would be wise to spend more time holistically considering the impacts of accepted new students instead of just focusing on enrollment numbers and profits.