Graduate student housing town hall

To: UC Santa Cruz Graduate Students

From: Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies Peter Biehl

Dear graduate students,

Thank you for your letters outlining and documenting your struggles in Santa Cruz and at UC Santa Cruz. It saddens me that you feel the university does not care about you, your health or your work. All of us, including the administration, are dedicated to helping graduate students thrive, and we all believe in the transformative effect of higher education. Our campus has experienced the most challenging two years in its history and our region continues to be impacted by the wildfires, the pandemic, and the overarching issue of affordable housing. Amid so much tragedy and continuing challenges, everyone is trying to do their best. 

Please believe that I and the rest of the academic leadership are eager to work with you to navigate these difficult times. The $2,500 housing supplement and the financial support measures unveiled this year do not solve the underlying problem of a lack of affordable housing in Santa Cruz and on campus. However, I continue to work alongside campus leaders to find other sources of support for graduate students, including for summer. 

And I want to work with you and the community to begin to find short and long-term solutions. As a next concrete step, I am organizing a graduate student town hall on housing. The idea is to bring us all together to discuss the issues, look at the data and listen to experts and practitioners to help us explore strategies and options. I’d like to work with you on this and I’m hoping to get suggestions from you, from the Graduate Student Association, and from the Graduate Student Commons to help assemble a panel of campus and community leaders and students, along with experts, to help guide the discussion on this topic.

Please send me any recommendations you have for panelists. I will also strive to ensure that you can submit questions to the panel ahead of time and during the townhall. 

I think it’s time to both broaden the discussion surrounding student housing and find new solutions for UCSC. 

I look forward to hearing from you and to working together on this with you. 

All the best,

Peter Biehl
Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies