Letter: Changes in credit card payments essentially raises rent for UBC students

Dear Andrew Simpson,

I’d like to acknowledge your recent announcement that you will once again be accepting credit card payments for rent and tuition. I’m sure that such changes involve a significant amount of effort and coordination within an institution of such proportions as the university. 

In particular, the council of the Acadia Park Residents’ Association has asked me to convey its response to your announcement. This response is one of disappointment. Our gratification that you have been able to reduce the financial burden upon the university is tempered by our frustration that you have not done the same for the students. For students who, for whatever reason, must use credit cards for payment, the new fee that you charge simply represents yet another increase in rent. With the housing market as limited as it is for this campus, the students we represent rarely have any choice but to pay such increases to their expenses while their incomes remain fixed.

As you are aware, the loss of credit card payment ability over a year ago affected my constituents, the residents of Acadia Park, in ways that ranged from inconvenience to great hardship. This reinstatement has narrowed that range. Still, the overall effect has been to transfer an expense from the university to the students. This is a worrying trend and I hope you will use it with greater caution — or find a more appropriate solution — in the future.

And yes, we understand that there is a special department on campus where students can go to tell their hard-luck financial stories.  It’s just dispiriting when the hard luck comes from the same campus.

On behalf of the Acadia Park Residents' Association,

Eric Douglas Eric Douglas is a PhD student in the School of Community and Regional Planning and the president of the Acadia Park Residents' Association.