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About Camping on Campus 


I must "borrow" Ellen Taylor's phrase "embarrassing itself" as she replied in last week's NCJ Mailbox (Nov. 9).

Referring to Thadeus Greenson's report in this week's issue ("'Upside Down,'" Nov. 9): The same can certainly be said of Cal Poly Humboldt,

evicting their homeless students who reside on the campus eight weeks shy one of student's graduation? 

Cal Poly made millions getting certified as a polytechnic university. Let's get more students without even looking at where they would live. (Doesn't matter, I guess, not their problem!)

They "fired the Arcata Fire Department" because they aren't interested in student safety ... when the university got a one-time bill for a false alarm. The Arcata Fire Department had a contract to educate their students on fire safety, Cal Poly cancelled it!

Wendy Davis, McKinleyville


The "camping on campus" students created a club to access more resources for something they, as students, were not supposed to be doing. Along came the university enforcement of something the university seemed to be looking the other way on. "I think the timing of everything is just a little too obvious." You think?

It's hard to pay no heed to something that is suddenly jumping up and down, waving a red flag. Some would call it that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Some would call it "the cause and effect" response. Perhaps these students should watch the world news, where there is no shortage of good or bad examples. Never push a loyal friend nor a property owner too hard, or else you might end up with neither.

The G.I. Bill will help defray the cost of your education, but you'd have to learn to obey orders. The fighting comes with the enlistment. Bully, for Cal Poly, for not submitting to students or media. Blackmail. When the student-run newspaper printed the "alternative lifestyle" story, it was not the kiss of a blessing but a kiss of your ass goodbye. Consider that the best part of your education and move along, folks — nothing to see here.

Marcus Yelton, Eureka


The Cal Poly Humboldt students who were living in their vehicles on campus parking lots have been evicted because of a policy that prohibits overnight camping. According to the article "'Upside Down'" (Nov. 9), CPH has subsequently offered to allow displaced students to stay free of charge in on-campus housing. Some students have refused that offer because they are concerned that would take up emergency shelter beds on campus, which are reserved for students who need immediate housing help due to an eviction. That is exactly the situation these students are in — they have been evicted and need immediate housing.

The students say that getting an education is their top priority, yet the one who was interviewed said he's been unable to attend class since Oct. 25 because he's been consumed with trying to continue living in his vehicle. So instead of accepting free housing and getting the education he's here for, he chooses to fight a losing battle. Upside down is a fitting description for this choice.

There is an upside to their situation. Now that they've formed friendships and bonded with their fellow campers, they have found suitable roommates. They could live on campus for free for a while, get part-time jobs, save some money and then find apartments or houses to rent. Craigslist has numerous two bedroom places renting for $1,000 to $1,200, some within walking distance of campus. Working 15 hours a week at minimum wage of $16 (as of 2024), they could earn enough for rent with money left over. Students from families with low or moderate incomes can get both Pell grants and Cal grants to cover tuition and books. They may also be eligible for CalFresh. Student loans can make up any shortfall.

Attending college is not just about getting a degree. Ideally, during college years young people learn how to plan ahead, develop good judgment and attain self-sufficiency. When living in your vehicle so you can have a "more affordable lifestyle" is no longer an option, maybe it's time to accept reality and choose a different lifestyle.

Diane Higgins, McKinleyville

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