Campus not secure for housing
Opinion by Kevin Khachatryan, Staff Writer
While the LACCD has conversations about on-campus housing for students, Valley College should consider its current lack of safety protocols and policing. On-campus housing would bring more students on campus at all hours of the day and, as a result, more crime could occur on campus.
More than seven burglaries and arrests were committed on campus with a headcount of 1,000 in-person students. If students were provided shelter on campus, there would be even more opportunities for crime. Students living on campus could get their items looted. Their phones, laptops, wallet and keys could be at risk, because burglary and robbery has been the biggest crime for Valley College.
Even though Valley can provide resources on campus for homeless students that will support them, the district would be wrong to put students in that danger. The fact that there are not any police officers present on campus whenever a suspect burglarizes into buildings, one starts to question if they are safe in the building they are in. This proves the point that housing is not a real likelihood that Valley should go into.
According to crime statistics for Valley, nearly every year since 2018 multiple crime’s have transpired. Seven burglaries occurred in 2020 including two motor vehicle thefts and two aggravated assaults.. The data also shows an increase in burglary and vehicle theft for the past three years
“Too many of our students are housing insecure and have had their studies heavily impacted by the lack of a safe, quiet place to sleep and study,” said Gabriel Buelna, LACCD Board of Trustees president, in an April news release.
Valley and the district must find a way to create a safe space for students who are on campus, before creating homes.
In 2019, there were more than three incidents related to crime and safety.
The priority of the district should not be to invest in housing, but rather address the current issues Valley is facing. In order for students — whether they live on campus or not — to feel safe, crimes should be addressed.
Let Monarchs call Valley College their home
Opinion by Milan Rafaelov, Staff Writer
On-campus student housing may be the solution that kills two birds with one stone, though critics of the proposed housing plans may argue that because funds are tight and crime is high, housing cannot be our first priority.
A community college surveyed 40,000 California students in 2019, and 60 percent were found to be housing insecure while 19 percent experienced homelessness. Thirty-five percent experienced food insecurity which is a 10 percent increase from pre-pandemic levels. Student homelessness has since increased by 9,000 students.
Students facing housing and nutritional insecurities are less likely to succeed in their educational goals, completing or passing courses and transferring to a university.
It would be fair to ask what this has to do with funding and high crime, but as of 2018, it has got everything to do with it.
In 2018, the Community College Chancellors' Office implemented a new formula for funding community colleges called the Student-Centered Funding Formula. This formula allocates funds based on student outcomes like course completion, degree attainment and university transfers. The formula also includes additional funding for colleges that serve low-income and underrepresented students. Due to the economic recession, housing and food insecurity trends may be expected to worsen in the coming years and if not relieved, could be Valley’s reason for losing funding in the future.
It is worth noting that this is a pivot from the old formula, which only provided funds based on the number of students enrolled in for-credit courses, and some special funding for specific and technical programs. This pivot incentivizes schools to invest in their student's success rather than in the institution's attainment of enrollments.
Now that the school receives money on the outcome of student success, campus housing would not just assist those who need it — it would be an investment in Valley’s student success and ability to secure more funds in the future.
Studies have found that providing housing assistance to low-income communities can help reduce crime and improve safety in neighborhoods. Evidence suggests that when people have access to safe and affordable housing, they’re more likely to feel secure and stable in their lives, which in turn reduces stress and anxiety — which can reduce criminal behavior.
Having affordable housing at Valley could also increase the sense of community and deter others from committing acts of crime. More bodies on campus also mean more eyes. And successful students mean more funding.