Eugene Housing's Perpetual Cycle of Horror

The Student Insurgent #housing

A Condensed List of UO Housing Atrocities

[on campus housing]

[UO sponsored housing]

Problems in Student Housing Hierarchy and the Overreliance on Cops

Student Housing management systematically over-relies on RAs, while at the same time not providing adequate resources, training, nor protections for them as workers. This leads to a very poor shuffling of responsibilities - responsibilities that should be taken on by the university - to the RAs.

A large example is interpersonal discrimination/harassment in the dorms. Firstly, these conflicts should be dealt with swiftly by the university, as they promise a safe space for all people; and harassment of any kind should not be tolerated. However, the university is, as we are all well aware, a heavily flawed institution, so this responsibility falls to the RAs, which leads to a second fundamental problem: RAs are not given the resources nor the training to adequately address these situations, leading to dangerous experiences for students and a large overinvolvement of cops in what should be a safe living space (especially in Barnhart).

According to an experienced RA, who we will call Z, de-escalation makes up the majority of an RAs job, and this plays a very important role in preventing potential violence and harm. Yet in the most recent RA training, the de-escalation training segment was shockingly brief, of only about 10 minutes. Rather, UO pushes RAs to become cozy with cops, even hosting meet and greets with UOPD. This is a crystal clear failure of the university to prioritize the safety of its students; cops are shit at de-escalation.

And if RAs instead turn to UO housing for resources, they are met with, as Z puts it, an incredibly “opaque process” that does not enable necessary change. One step above the RAs, the community directors, quit en masse every year, and reeducation for new hires is half-baked, failing both them, and the students. Furthermore, there are not sufficient protections for the RAs themselves, who often experience unaddressed harassment, sexual harassment, and forms of discrimination.

Predatory Property Managers vs Mom and Pop Landlords

Large property managers of student sponsored housing run their buildings as competitive businesses, constantly sacrificing quality while jacking up prices, thus monopolizing the available housing market. These property managers relish at the obedient and endless supply of students feeding straight into their shitty apartments year after year, luxuriating in the ease and simplicity of it all, and taking fiendish delight in providing the absolute minimum, if even that, for a premium price.

Additionally, these properties have the benefit of guaranteed temporarity, where tenants who are students are less likely to speak up on the atrocities of management because they will likely move out after a brief temporal frame anyway. The predatory targeting of students is becoming ridiculously clearer by the day. Instagram fills with UO clubs with random housing sponsorships (which often are completely irrelevant to the content of the club itself), and on-campus housing fairs only feature the same buildings year after year: 2125, 515, 959, Arena, Identity, etc.

This monopoly of traffic forces smaller mom and pop landlords out of business. Although smaller landlords can also be exploitative, they are more often operating as an individual rather than a vast faceless system, where they can work with individual people with their individual needs.

The housing market plays a large role in contributing to Eugene’s economic ecosystem that in large part thrives off the teamwork between large corporations to create a controlled environment for the exploitation of students that pushes smaller businesses off the plane of potential prosperity; and this problem is emphasized by most students not knowing their tenant rights in the first place, and that they apply to on campus housing as well.

Protections and Resources