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Build better faculty housing 

San Luis Obispo

A few days ago, a woman was yet again placing an “open house” sign at the Bella Montana condominium site. These condominiums were built by Cal Poly to supposedly give a “good deal” to junior faculty and staff, whose salaries cannot possibly match the inflated prices of our local housing market.

Unfortunately, this very first gesture toward our junior faculty was more like a slap in the face, and sadly reflects the depressing indifference of many Cal Poly administrators toward the faculty. Instead of building real houses in a pleasant location, Cal Poly crammed condominiums, not just side by side, but one on top of the other, and placed them along Highway 1. Good enough for junior faculty, right?

Now the same people responsible for this disaster whine that they cannot sell half of these condos. They also whine that too many outstanding candidates for a teaching position end up going elsewhere.

It seems to me that they have forgotten the obvious: Students choose a university, not because of its administrators or its buildings, but because of the programs created and taught by its teachers. In other words, students come to Cal Poly because of the faculty. Considering that Cal Poly has one of the heaviest teaching loads in the nation, and some of the lowest starting salaries if we take into account the cost of living here, it is absolutely crucial to find ways to attract excellent candidates to this campus (other than the weather). Offering to pack them like sardines by the highway is certainly not one of them.

-- Odile Ayral - San Luis Obispo

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