Once again, Boston-area college students are being unfairly targeted by the city.’
Boston City Council President Mike Ross has been on a crusade over the past year to keep students from living with more than three other undergraduates. In March of 2008, this proposal became law, but the city has had little success when it came to enforcement. He is now calling for all universities to report any students in violation of this ordinance to the city, but this proposal is both impractical and unfair.
To force universities to report any students in violation of the law would drive yet another wedge between students and their universities. The cost of housing is already exorbitant, and universities should not be turning in students who are trying to save money by living off-campus.
The fact that housing is becoming unaffordable for the long-term residents of Boston isn’t the fault of students.’ Rather, it is the landlords who crowd as many students as they can into tiny apartments.’ They are the ones that the city council should be targeting. It is important to remember that students just want a cheap place to live, and the city should let them be.
Students are no less important than the rest of the Boston community, and no less worthy of living in its neighborhoods.’ They contribute just as much as everyone else through the taxes they pay and the money they spend at local businesses. Students not only have to pay their rent, but they have thousands of dollars worth of tuition to pay.
Targeting students unfairly to solve the city’s housing problems is the wrong approach.’ Instead, the city should be focused on working with colleges to increase student housing.’ As evidenced by the undergraduate housing problems of Boston College, it isn’t ideal for students to be expanding into Boston-area neighborhoods, but have no choice if on-campus housing isn’t available or unaffordable.’ The city council needs to stop giving the impression that it is working against the students who are so valuable to Boston, and it should offer solutions that we can all live with.