Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Boston College Undergraduate Dorms: Councilor-At-Large Candidates Respond to Questionnaire

Many of the candidates for the Boston City Councilor-At-Large seat responded to the Brighton Centered questionnaire. Here you can see all of their responses to one of those questions.

QUESTION: Should Boston College be required to house all of their undergraduate students in on-campus dormitories? If so, where should the dormitories be located? On their 'Brighton Campus' (land recently purchased from the Archdiocese of Boston), on their 'Main Campus,' or both?

COUNCILOR FELIX ARROYO: I have proposed a University Expansion Moratorium which would condition all future expansion on the institutions paying full property taxes (in the form of a PILOT payment) and participating in a full community and City Council review. Though I’m not sure it would be legally permissible to require *all* undergraduate students to live on-campus, I support each effort to put whatever pressure is need on BC in order to encourage such a policy. I believe all undergraduates should be housed on the “Main Campus” while the St John’s Seminary land should be reserved for open space, administrative buildings (along Commonwealth Avenue only) and, if necessary, graduate student housing.

JOHN CONNOLLY: Boston College should provide on-campus housing on its main campus for all of its undergraduate students. Undergraduate students should not be housed on the former Archdiocese property. Moving students on-campus will make more housing available in the community for families and will reduce the artificially high rental market, which is inflated by the presence of students who are willing to pay exorbitant rents and to crowd into unsuitable space.

COUNCILOR MICHAEL FLAHERTY: I have been a long-term proponent of having our local colleges and universities build more student campus housing as a way to free up the supply of available rental units and keep rental prices at affordable prices for the area’s working families. However, at the same time we encourage our academic institutions to create more on-campus housing options for students, we must also promote and encourage them to develop and/or expand in a responsible manner that respects the interests of the neighborhood residents.

MATTHEW GEARY: Having affordable rental housing shouldn't be something that working people and students have to fight over, the city should be building enough to meet our needs. Freshmen often make their new away-from-home experience a burden for the community, it belongs on campus. The new land purchase by BC is one way to mitigate the impact of students, however, the fact that BC doesn't pay property taxes, means the bill for city services is being picked up by working people. The city must require the universities to disclose all land owned through shell companies, pay their fair share and live up to their past commitments.

MARTIN HOGAN: I feel that we need to have each college and university in Boston, like Boston College, re-evaluate their capacity for housing students on campus and what their percentage is that live off campus. We need to advocate to control how much the institution can expand and specifically where. We need to preserve the neighborhoods and public lands and resources we have and make sure that the safety of all, residents and students is provided. One of the ways we can help to make sure that families are not forced out is by defining where and how much these institutions may expand. Also I will work every day to get these institutions and other tax exempt entities in Boston pay their fair share of the burden.

COUNCILOR SAM YOON: As for the students who live off-campus, and you will always have some, I believe we should work on developing relationships between the community and Boston College. While Boston College students may be students of the university, they are also residents of the neighborhood and need to behave as such. Mission Hill, which is home to Northeastern University has worked for years to cultivate this relationship. While it is not perfect, Northeastern University’s town-grown relationship is years ahead of Boston College. There needs to be clearly defined expectations of students that are drawn up between the college and the community (including D-14) and clear consequences for those students who do not meet the expectations.

Candidate David Wyatt and Councilor Stephen Murphy did not respond to the questionnaire.

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