University of Hawaii considering new faculty housing policy

Published On: Apr 16 2012 08:54:48 PM HST   Updated On: Apr 17 2012 05:32:10 AM HST

Lilia Quindoza Santiago is a Filipino language professor who has been renting her Manoa townhome for two years now.

She worries that a new policy will mean that she and other faculty and staff will soon be forced to move elsewhere, paying much higher market rents.

"It is just not in the nature of a modern university to have a policy of eviction," said Quindoza Santiago.

The faculty senate has been calling for an overhaul of the university housing policy and is reviewing a draft sent over from the UH Chancellors office.
It includes a limit of how long professors and staff can rent the Manoa apartments and townhouses for about 50 percent below market prices.
University administrators are concerned that they will need more rentals to attract new faculty since they anticipate a large number of current professors are 55 years and older and may opt to retire soon.

“We don't want to throw people out on the street, but we want to accommodate the needs of the new faculty as they arrive," said Bob Cooney, chairman of the faculty senate.

The latest figures show that some faculty have stayed from anywhere from as short as one year, to as long as 17 years.
While their annual salaries range from $30,000 to $180,000, most are in the $60,000 to $80,000 range.

The calls to revisit the housing policy are timely, as the hiring freeze that was in place has been lifted. There is some thought that it isn’t fair to subsidize housing for just a few.

“The original policy and was suspended many years ago and hasn’t been replaced and we feel we really need a policy in place if we are to treat faculty fairly," Cooney said.

At one time, the university offered the Woodlawn apartments for sale, but there were few takers for the contract terms.
In 2008, the rents in older buildings on Dole Street ranged from $540 a month for studios, to a little more than $1,300 for a three-bedroom unit in the newer townhouses deeper into valley.

"They should build more housing units instead of evicting the current occupiers of these units," said Quindoza Santiago.

The faculty senate has been working with the Manoa Chancellor’s office on crafting a new policy. It takes up the issue on Wednesday.


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