In Support of the Application of Social Justice Principles in University Owned Rental Units

Resolution Number: RS18-366
April, 2018
Whereas: 
RATIONALE: As the University increases its efforts to purchase and build off-campus rental units, the Academic Senate stands steadfast in its belief that there must be a component of adherence to social justice principles in setting the rental rates, and in the accessibility of these units to faculty and staff. The Academic Senate recognizes and appreciates recent efforts on the part of Administration and Finance and Housing, Dining and Conference Services to consult with faculty and staff on housing issues and for providing more information on the challenges faced in providing housing to campus members.
Whereas: 
under the core value of Resilience, the Strategic Plan for San Francisco State University sets as an objective “SF State will be a champion and advocate at the regional level in the areas of affordable housing, transportation and economic development on behalf of students and SF State employees”; and
Whereas: 
SF State has two initiatives within its Strategic Plan addressing housing, which are “Address … housing opportunities in light of San Francisco’s cost of living” and “Update the physical master plan to maximize affordable student and employee housing”; and
Whereas: 
faculty and staff salaries have not kept up with increases in the cost of housing, making recruiting and retaining faculty and staff difficult; and
Whereas: 
San Francisco State University purchased Stonestown Apartments in 2005 to “better serve students, faculty and staff, and create a more cohesive, attractive campus neighborhood” (Corrigan, 2005); and
Whereas: 
San Francisco Rent Ordinance of 1979 established San Francisco maximum allowable annual rent increases (i.e., rent control) to address social justice issues; and
Whereas: 
San Francisco State University’s mission states an “unwavering commitment to social justice that is central to the work of the university”; and
Whereas: 
San Francisco State University has abided by the maximum allowable annual rental increases until the current cycle of rental license renewals; and
Whereas: 
in the current cycle of rental license renewals, San Francisco State University continued to abide by rent control for legacy residents (including faculty and staff) that were tenants before the University purchased the units; and
Whereas: 
San Francisco State University did not continue to abide by rent control for other members of the university community (faculty, staff, and students) and increased their rent by over twice the maximum annual rent increase (5% versus 2.2%) allowed by the City of San Francisco in FY2017-18 and is planning to increase it by over three times that in FY2018-19 (5% vs. 1.6%); and
Whereas: 
this 5% annual increase in rent has been approved by San Francisco State University administration through at least the fiscal year (FY) 2022/23; and
Whereas: 
rent would increase by 9.54% ($46,006.80 ) over the next five years if San Francisco State University continued to abide by the San Francisco rent ordinance , it will increase by 34.01% ($56,284.204) if 5% annual increases are applied for the next six years; and
Whereas: 
the fair market rate for an unfurnished two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $3,121 in FY 2018 ; and
Whereas: 
the monthly rent charged to new tenants for an unfurnished two-bedroom university-owned apartment has increased over 140% from $1,400 in 2005 to $3,395 in 2017; and
Whereas: 
the proposed increases in rent are larger than the contractual raises that faculty and staff have earned in the same period; be it therefore
Whereas: 
Notes: sfrb.org/section-371-title-and-findings http://sfrb.org/topic-no-051-years-annual-allowable-increase
Resolved: 
that the Academic Senate thanks the Executive Director of Housing for setting up a Housing Advisory Committee with members from throughout the campus; and be it further
Resolved: 
that the Academic Senate urges the Executive Director of Housing to continue to consult with the Senate regarding housing issues that impact faculty and staff and include both groups in sufficient numbers in the proposed Housing Advisory Committee; and be it further
Resolved: 
That the Housing Advisory Committee articulate a vision and mission for University housing that includes its use as a mechanism for recruitment and retention of faculty, staff and students; and be it further
Resolved: 
that the Academic Senate urges the VP of Administration and Finance and the Executive Director of Housing expand on the options presented to the Senate for increasing revenue, and make decisions on such changes public after sufficient consultation with the campus and faculty and staff residents of University-owned rental properties; and be it further
Resolved: 
that the Academic Senate urges the Executive Director of Housing to publicize (online) and establish procedures for timely update of university housing policies and practices. This should include its vision and mission statements and its place within the Strategic Plan for San Francisco State University as well as general rent increase policies for each tenant category, specific approved rent increases, current rents, eviction policies, applicable minimum service standards, and other information that would allow an informed comparison to alternative San Francisco housing options; and be it further
Resolved: 
that the Academic Senate strongly urges the San Francisco State administration to remain true to the social justice mission of the university; and be it further
Resolved: 
for the administration to reverse the 5% rent increase in the current year and continue to abide by the San Francisco rent control ordinance for members of the university community that live in university owned housing; and be it further
Resolved: 
Notes Assuming a starting price of $3,500 monthly or $42,000 annual rent for a two-bedroom university owned unit. Assuming annual increases equal to the 10-year average of San Francisco allowable annual rent increases, 1.53%. Department of Housing and Urban Development (https://www.huduser.gov)