Unhoused Cal Poly Humboldt Students Continue to Seek Answers after University Sends out Controversial Email

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Reaction to Cal Poly Humboldt kicking un-housed students out of parking lots has not been in the university’s favor. Last week, the school sent an email to the student body about enforcing parking regulations, effectively kicking out students who were living in their cars. 

Redwood News spoke with two student organizers of the Alternative Living Club on campus to get their thoughts on the university .

“They walked around and knocked on RV’s and vans and anybody they thought might be living in their vehicle to notify them in person that starting at some undisclosed time we would be evicted from campus,” Brad Butterfield, a student and organizer of the Alternative Living Club said. 

The October 25th email from the school states that students camping in their vehicles: “Creates unsanitary and unsafe conditions for both those encamped and for our campus community at large.”

“It made us feel really targeted, made us feel really, like self-conscious about the way that we’re living, even more so than we already are,” Maddy Montiel, a student and organizer of the Alternative Living Club said. “It felt really dehumanizing, mostly because we weren’t given the opportunity to have any kind of communication or dialog prior.”

The email comes just a few weeks before finals. Brad says some students must now decide whether to continue at the university.

“It’s really affected our lives […] most, if not all of us, don’t have a plan B of what to go or how we would fund any sort of campground or any of the other unreasonable and unrealistic suggestions for solutions that the school has provided,” Butterfield said.

The alternative living club helps students who want to get into the van-life lifestyle, but also students who have no affordable housing alternatives, especially with a shortage of student housing.

“We were told by the parts of the administration earlier this semester that sleeping in the vans in the parking lot would be okay,” Caleb Chenn, a graduate at Cal Poly and has been living in on campus lots, said. 

So what changed?

We reached out to the university for further comment–they said that they do not have any statement to share at this moment and to refer to the email they sent on Oct. 25th.

students hope to work out a solution with the  administration 

“We’re going to continue meeting as a group and talking about the best ways to go forward. but it’s difficult to know the best course of action because the administration has not told us what their next step is,” Butterfield said.