Graduate education is a core priority for the University of California, Riverside and an essential driver of our research, teaching, and public service mission.
Unrelenting cost of living escalation in California has resulted in recent unrest at UC Santa Cruz. Despite a relatively more affordable housing market in the Inland Empire, our students nevertheless face rising costs for housing. We are committed to doing more to help, and in this letter will provide information on the availability of University-owned housing stock as it relates to the housing of graduate students.
Currently, the greatest need we see for graduate students is in Oban family housing. We are therefore upgrading seismic and fire alarm systems in Falkirk Apartments on Canyon Crest Drive in order to allow us to transition Falkirk completely to dedicated family housing by Fall 2024. This will allow us to accommodate one-third more families (about 100) than was possible in Canyon Crest Family Housing.
Individual students without families – both undergraduates and graduate students – will also have access to the UCR North District Residential Complex. The first phase will open in fall 2021 with 1,500 beds; the second phase will add 1,200 beds in fall 2024. We are fortunate to be at a point where we are beginning to expand the housing stock for all students, including graduate students, and will involve graduate students in planning discussions to make sure their needs are met by this expansion.
UCR has been historically underfunded and understaffed, which affects our ability to support our graduate students. As one way to increase coordination of existing services and provide a channel for communicating graduate student needs, we will create a new position in Student Affairs to coordinate services, including housing, specifically for graduate students.
UCR does not have the authority to negotiate the terms of an already approved system-wide labor contract. No campus does. These contracts are negotiated at a system-wide level between the UC system as a whole and the labor unions which represent Teaching Assistants. The current contract was agreed upon by both parties and remains in effect until June 2022. The contract does not represent the many students who are supported by fellowships, extramural funding, and other means. For these reasons UCR is focusing on other strategies to address the financial needs of all UCR graduate students and we will continue to work with all of our graduate students to inform campus priorities going forward.
Thomas A. Smith
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Dean of the Graduate Division