More On-campus Housing at Post-secondary Institutions sign now

We call on the government of the province of Ontario to mandate that post-secondary institutions invest significantly in on-campus residences.

To date, post-secondary institutions have chosen to evade their social responsibility by ignoring the significant negative impact that their expanding student populations are having on the surrounding residential neighbourhoods.
In the case of London, this means that the city, with its population of roughly 320,000 has been left essentially on its own to handle a huge inflow of temporary residents which is currently at 45,000!!
A further complicating factor is that the recent surge in student enrolment has brought a tide of younger (and generally less socially responsible) students spilling into residential neighbourhoods.
With post-secondary institutions ignoring the problem and municipal governments inappropriately equipped to respond, the surrounding residential neighbourhoods have been forced to fill in the gap by themselves and forced to deal with rising social tensions, substantial loss of enjoyment of their property, increased levels of underage drinking, and a higher incidence of criminal activity.

The situation in London is emblematic of other university towns, such as Kingston, Hamilton and Waterloo:
1. In London, the areas surrounding the University of Western Ontario (UWO) and Fanshawe College now receive the highest number of emergency calls (including police) of any area in the city these were previously pacific and sought-after residential areas. The London Police has tried to assign more resources to these areas but problems continue to escalate.
2. Illegal for-profit parties (also known as keggers) proliferate in our neighbourhoods, bringing more surges of temporary residents into the area (who typically spill onto our streets in an intoxicated state in the early hours of the morning). Perhaps worse, these parties lure increasing numbers of high school students and encourage underage drinking.
3. UWO and Fanshawe College have one of the lowest rates of on-campus housing in all of North America. UWO recently unveiled a 50-year strategic plan that does not include even one additional on-campus residence! Fanshawe College, with a total student population of approximately 15,000 has on-campus residence capacity of only 800 students!!

Given the nature of the competition among post-secondary institutions, they appear set to continue to direct negligible amounts of their resources to on-campus residences, unless mandated to do so. This is a classic co-ordination problem with externalities: the institutions believe that if they, individually and on their own, devote financial resources to an ancillary activity (such as on-campus housing), their competitors will pull ahead in terms of key growth drivers such as research facilities and faculty recruitment.

Meanwhile the surrounding community bears the brunt of the social costs. This is unacceptable. These institutions must internalize the substantial costs of their socially irresponsible attitude of expansion at all costs.

Therefore, intervention by the government of Ontario is the optimal (and indeed only) way to ensure an outcome which is efficient, both on economic and social grounds. Accordingly, we call on the government of the province of Ontario to mandate significant and immediate investments in on-campus housing by post-secondary institutions in Ontario.

Specifically, the government of the province of Ontario should immediately mandate that these institutions, at a minimum:
1. house on-campus all first and second year full-time students; and
2. meet this threshold within three years.
In addition, institutional strategic plans and growth targets should be consistent with each institution housing on-campus at least 40\% of all full-time students.

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Lorene WallaceBy:
HealthIn:
Petition target:
Ontario Government and MPPs

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