Letter to the Editor: K-State should be doing more to solve housing injustice


This letter to the editor was written by Jonathan Cole, senior in mechanical engineering. If you would like to write a letter to the Collegian, send us an email at letters@kstatecollegian.com or visit kstatecollegian.com/contact.

In his State of the Union address in 1944, then-president Franklin Roosevelt proposed a second Bill of Rights so that “a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race or creed.”

Among the proposed rights were the right to a job, the right to a decent education and the right to a decent home.

In a time where it’s estimated over one in three college students are housing insecure and almost one in ten students are technically homeless, we must fight for the most vulnerable members of our Kansas State family.

This not only includes students, but facilities staff on our campus who work hard to make our campus great. In Manhattan as a whole, facilities staff are paid on average below the suggested $25,000 livable salary recommended by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

As a community organizer for housing justice, I ask the question: does K-State do enough to meet the housing needs of students? Time and time again, I hear the answer is a resounding “no.”

Instead of addressing the fundamental needs of students and underpaid staff on campus, we see administration costs seeming to increase every year. This is an unconscionable course of action.

I feel that, oftentimes, students and underpaid staff forget the power they truly have. We run this campus and the city of Manhattan, but don’t even realize it. If we are to address the housing injustices that are happening on our campus, we must begin altering the relations of power to where it serves us.

Not those who are currently in power. Not those who have money. Not those who prioritize the wants of donors over the needs of students.

K-State and the city of Manhattan must serve the students. K-State and the city of Manhattan must take care of its most vulnerable.

Housing is a fundamental human right, as recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from the United Nations. K-State and the city of Manhattan must come together and address the needs of our community, and fight for safe and affordable housing. And we, as citizens of our democracy, need to hold them accountable, whether it be through demonstrations, strikes or other direct actions.

We have to begin taking back our lives and demand that injustices be addressed, for the betterment of our K-State Family.

Jonathan Cole is a senior in mechanical engineering. The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.