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Davis

Davis, California

Monday, October 18, 2021

Co-op closure troubles applicants

Students wishing to become a part of the Tri-Cooperative Housing program next year face a predicament: The potential closing of the Davis Student Cooperative (DSC) house means there may not be enough room for current applicants.

UC Davis Student Housing officials informed DSC residents in October that their house would be closing Aug. 1, citing a budgetary deficit of $7,000 and declining residency as the need to consolidate.

However, residents of the Tri Co-ops are meeting weekly with representatives from student housing and the administration to discuss the situation.

Meetings have been very productive in terms of talking about the issues and establishing a relationship between the Tri Co-ops and student housing, said Emily Galindo, director of student housing.

“Somehow we have to get to a place where we can agree on certain principles and we can do some things to make the relationship sustainable over time,” she said.

Greg Robinson, a junior physics major and DSC resident, hopes the communication with student housing can help keep DSC open.

“I’m hoping they will ultimately understand the value of this house, and that it is worth keeping open in one incarnation or another,” he said. “Ideally, I hope that means in this house, but if there are operational constraints that don’t allow it to stay open perpetually, then I think there needs to be a replacement.”

Residents of DSC are not feeling defeated, Robinson said, and are taking resident applications for next fall.

“It puts us in an awkward situation,” he said. “We are optimistic about the future of the house and the community, but we still need to keep people informed and prepared that there is some uncertainty with next year.”

Though not all have applied, there are at least a dozen students interested in moving into DSC next year, Robinson said. This is much more than they can accept into the Tri Co-ops even if DSC stays open.

Will Quinn, a junior environmental policy and planning major and resident of DSC, sympathized with the first-years hoping to live in one of the Tri Co-ops.

“In a situation that to the public looks like 99 percent chance of closing and 1 percent chance of staying open, of course you are going to be skeptical of this place being available for you to live at next year,” he said. “And that’s just not fair to them.”

The uncertainty has led to a somewhat precarious situation: residents of the Tri Co-ops are trying to figure out the number of applicants they can accept for the fall that will be appropriate regardless of how many houses they have, Quinn said.

“Freshmen are scared about where they are going to live next year, and the co-ops offer a loving community where students grow and mature,” he said. “But no freshmen will be comfortable waiting until June to find out if the house stays open.”

Some first-year applicants are turning themselves away during the application process because they can’t commit themselves to waiting to find out the final decision on DSC, he said.

First-year design major Aria Watson is not one of these applicants. Though she is applying to live in the Pierce house, DSC’s potential closing would greatly affect her chances of getting in, due to the diminished number of spots.

Watson has wanted to live in the Tri Co-ops for a few years, intrigued by the idea of cooperative living ever since she heard about it. She has not made any alternate plans and does not know where she will live next year if there is not enough room at the Tri Co-ops.

“I’m just going to keep going and I’m going to try to find out what I can do to keep it from closing,” she said.

The Tri Co-ops application process is rigorous, where students visit the houses for months, Quinn said. Current residents must unanimously approve of an applicant in order to be accepted into the house.

Watson has been eating dinners and gardening at the Tri Co-ops on a weekly basis since the start of winter quarter as part of the application process.

Representatives from the Tri Co-ops and student housing had their third meeting on Friday, with the meetings expected to end sometime in March, Galindo said. A final decision on the fate of DSC will be made sometime after the meetings end.

The Tri Co-ops aim to counter the arguments made for closing DSC through increasing rent, paying off the deficit and enforcing a stricter lease signing strategy, Quinn said.

“I feel there are lots of opportunities that student housing and student affairs have to keep us open, and I am optimistic that they will do the right thing,” Robinson said.

JANELLE BITKER can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

1 COMMENT

  1. Presumably the applicants that are accepted then pay rent, yes? This is where some of the disagreement on how to close the $7k gap comes from? So if first-years (not unreasonably) don’t want to commit to a situation that likely won’t be decided until June, and the Co-ops end up with almost no applicants, what then? Won’t there be an artificially created deficit thanks to the delay caused by Student Housing? Will Student Housing pay the difference?

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