Regents approve more housing for our students, child care for employees

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Chancellor Cynthia Larive

I write to share the good news that the UC Board of Regents voted earlier today in support of a vitally important on-campus student-housing and child-care project. The approval of Student Housing West is a huge win for our students, our employees and for the greater Santa Cruz community.

The project, in the works for years, will provide campus with more desperately needed housing for our students, giving them more secure, affordable, on-campus housing options, as well as a child-care facility that will be open to all employees. Student Housing West will also draw an estimated 2,000 students currently living in the community back to campus, thereby easing pressure on the local housing market.

This project was first approved by Regents two years ago, then challenged in court. UCSC prevailed on many issues, but a judge concluded that there were errors in the process Regents used when they voted in support of Student Housing West, requiring the campus to return to the board. Today the Regents voted to once again approve this project.I am grateful for the support of Regents, who acknowledged the critical role housing plays in supporting student success, and appreciative of all who spoke passionately about the project. Mostly, though, I am happy for our students. Student Housing West, spread over two sites and comprising more than 3,000 beds, will enable our campus to offer more housing to our graduate students and our upper-division undergraduates. It will allow us to reduce overcrowding in existing residence halls and restore some of the lounge space we have converted to sleeping space in recent years to meet steep housing demand. It will create a new residential community for our students with families, situated within walking distance of the local elementary school and near the on-campus neighborhoods where we house our staff and faculty.

This infusion of additional housing as a whole will allow students to focus on their academics. They will not need to worry whether they’ll be able to find an affordable place to live while studying at UCSC. That is crucial to student success, which is one of our highest priorities.

Although the Student Housing West project debate has been a difficult one for our campus, I know we can find mutual respect in our common goal of doing what’s in the best interest of our campus — and especially our students.