Ordinance for evictions in IV underway

Andrea Whiting

Yellow flyers pop out from door frames all over Isla Vista. They read, “Stop the conquest of IV!” in all capital letters and demand a boycott of Conquest Student Housing, all courtesy of the Isla Vista Tenants Union (IVTU).

Keith Russell, a City College student senator, is working with the IVTU on a just-cause ordinance to prevent mass evictions like the one that resulted in the eviction of 55 families in August 2006.

“It is estimated that 2,000 to 3,000 City College students live in IV and my primary involvement with IVTU is to ensure they are not ripped off by their landlords,” Russell said in an email.

“While most of the mass evictions in IV have targeted lower-class working families, it could just as easily happen to college students.”

The IVTU says Conquest evicted the 55 families from the Cedarwood Apartments (now called Coronado) in order to pave the way for high-priced student housing and calls these evictions wrongful.

“We were appalled by their neglect of the property and by the use of intimidation tactics during the eviction process,” IVTU representatives said in an email to The Channels.

“For the tenants, who are mostly low-income Hispanic families, the evictions meant relocation from a place they and their children have called home for the greater part of a decade.”

Russell, who serves as Vice President of External Affairs for the Student Senate, believes the evictions targeted residents who could not easily defend themselves.

The ordinance is still in the developmental stage, but its goal is clear: to protect residents from unjust evictions.

Sponsors of the ordinance say it has not yet been determined whether the new law would be effective countywide or only within IV.

The fate of the ordinance rests in the hands of the Board of Supervisors, but Russell believes the first draft will be created by the IVTU.

Carmela Galvez, IVTU coordinator, believes Conquest flagrantly disregarded the community’s appeals.

“It was especially upsetting when our organization and tenants were getting the run-around during the eviction procedure,” Galvez said in an email.

“I believe that any ethical business that operates in a community and profits from its members should also consider its impacts on the area and the interests of the neighborhood,” Galvez wrote.

Conquest Student Housing did not respond to numerous requests for comment by The Channels.