Parents and students were shocked to hear Cal Poly Humboldt’s decision to remove returning students’ access to on-campus housing next fall.

Campus officials say they need the on-campus housing for incoming first-year and transfer students.

Current students feel betrayed, noting the announcement came after the deadline to transfer to another college. Many are worried they’ll be unhoused next fall since Arcata lacks affordable housing. Some students have reported experiencing racist and ableist discrimination when searching for housing off campus, said Chelsea Rios Gomez, a third year Cal Poly Humboldt student and intern with Students for Quality Education.

“There’s a lot of anger, a lot of very strong emotions. Because Arcata is rural, it already has a housing shortage,” Rios Gomez said. “It’s intense. We’re in this in-between stage right now. Housing has no answers for us; administration has no answers for us.”

Groups of people with signs outdoors
Cal Poly Humboldt students rally for on-campus student housing.

Students held a protest February 8 where hundreds of students occupied a quad for five hours “needing somewhere to be heard,” Rios Gomez said. Students are also demanding more transparency and student input in decision making, and called out management’s lack of infrastructure development before implementing the polytechnic designation to the Humboldt campus.

“The school is very blatantly putting profit over students,” Rios Gomez said. “Students are being treated as disposable for money, for greed.”

CFA Humboldt members are joining in solidarity with students.

“CFA is supportive of students and having their concerns fully heard and responded to respectfully and adequately,” said Loren Cannon, CFA Humboldt president and Cal Poly Humboldt lecturer. “In the last three years of serving as CFA Humboldt president, I have seen lecturers lose work and health insurance due to deep budget cuts, and workloads increase across the institution. Then, recently counseling work has been outsourced while our own counselors don’t even have permanent jobs and adequate pay. Now, this concern over housing. The Cal Poly Humboldt administration needs to lay the foundation for an excellent and equitable college experience for all Cal Poly Humboldt students.”

More than 4,000 supporters signed a petition demanding fair student housing.

“We demand that further actions be taken to make the access to student housing fair for all students, and that parents be included in problem solving options so that our students are not left struggling when they should be studying,” according to the petition.

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