Time to move in Runners: off-campus dorms should be built

The Runner Editoral Board

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This piece is an unsigned opinion story that reflects The Runner editorial board’s stance on an issue. Join the discussion by sending us a letter to the editor at [email protected]

As students of CSU Bakersfield, we want to express our disappointment that President Lynnette Zelezny opposed the proposal to construct off campus student dorms across the street from the university.

I We believe that CSUB and the Bakersfield community should accept developer David Moon’s proposal to build the two, five-story student dormitories that are marketed to CSUB students.
Our CSUB classmates should have the right to decide for themselves where they want to live, whether it is on campus or off campus.

Zelezny wrote an opinion piece for the Bakersfield Californian stating that the university opposes Moon’s proposal because students should live on campus where they have access to resources like the library, professors, and cultural opportunities that are vital for their success.

While this is true, reality is that not every student can afford to live on campus. It has been quoted in local media that the CSUB dorms are only 64% occupied. We do not doubt that the reason for this is because of the price.

CSUB has two different sites available to students, Housing East and Housing West. According to the CSUB website, in Student Housing East a single room is $6,098 per semester, a double room is $5,069, and a triple room is $4,197. Housing West only offers single rooms for $5,069 per semester to seniors, graduate students, and students over the age of 25. The website states that the semester meal plan for student housing east is $2,033 and $1,525 at student housing west. At Student housing East, a student is paying around $2,032 a month combined for their single room and meal plan. At Student Housing West, a student is paying $1,648 a month for their single bed and meal plan.

While some would say the amenities provided by Student Housing are reasonable for these prices, combined with all the other things that students must purchase, such as admission, text books, and parking, it’s insanely high.

Moon proposes the same amenities like campus student housing, except at a much more reasonable price. He estimates that students would pay around $800 for that and to have their own bedroom and bathroom.

We have not seen anybody ask what the students want or how they feel. The Runner has been conducting interviews with students and the majority have said that it is much more affordable to rent an apartment off campus with other roommates. That way they also have the freedom to buy the food that they want.

The people who attended Moon’s meeting on March 18, who were residents of the surrounding areas of Stockdale Highway, stated that they did not want this project in their backyards because we as college students would bring noise, crime and drugs into their neighborhoods.

We want these residents to realize that as students, our main goal is to graduate. The stereotype of college students as drunk, crazy, party animals is completely absurd.

One of the biggest arguments against the construction of the dorms is that bringing in college students will bring crime to the neighborhood. As stated, the main goal of every student is to graduate, not cause a ruckus. However, crime has happened on campus with four rapes stated in the 2017 Clery Report in the dorms and several car break-ins in the recent past, but the students have been the victims of said crimes.

It is a possibility that criminals would attempt to make these new dorms a target for their activities, but this brings up another selling point for Moon’s site: 24 hour security monitoring the dorms, which should decrease any kind of criminal activity.

Bakersfield is expanding and, consequently, we must evolve with it. Progress should not be stalled by NIMBY (not in my back yard) individuals.

If the university is going to serve the needs of all the students, it should welcome the work of private developers who are able and ready to meet the housing requirements of those students who the university would otherwise either have to scramble to protect or resign itself to losing.

We want the students to speak up and involve themselves in this process. Ultimately the students living on campus and off campus are the ones who will be affected by these decisions, not President Zelezny nor the developer, David Moon.