UBC Graduate Student Society Urges University to Halt Redevelopment of Academic Zone into Private Housing

on June 1, 2015
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Vancouver, BC – The Graduate Student Society of UBC Vancouver (GSS) is calling on UBC to halt its plans to build private housing developments on campus land reserved for academic buildings.

Earlier this year, the university put forward plans to tear down two buildings on University Boulevard between Wesbrook Mall and East Mall: the General Services Administration Building that formerly housed administrative offices, and the D.H. Copp Building that provides laboratory and research space. In their place, the university intends to build apartment buildings which will rent to non-students at market rates.

While the buildings earmarked for demolition are at or near the end of their useful lives, the ground on which they are located is designated as “Academic” land. This type of land is supposed to be held for academic uses rather than for non-institutional housing development.

“As UBC gets ready to celebrate its first 100 years, it must also look ahead to the next 100 years and ensure campus land is protected and reserved for its primary mission of teaching, learning, and research,” says Tobias Friedel, GSS President.

The encroachment of non-student housing on parts of campus that are intended to be used for classrooms, laboratories, libraries, and other scholarly activities would establish a situation in which the entire campus becomes a potential site for private housing development.

The GSS has sent a letter to UBC President Arvind Gupta and John Montalbano, Chair of UBC’s Board of Governors, seeking clarity on which areas of campus, if any, are protected from private housing development.

For more information, please contact Tobias Friedel, President of the Graduate Student Society of UBC Vancouver, at president@gss.ubc.ca.

The Graduate Student Society of UBC Vancouver (GSS) is an independent student society that advocates for over 10,000 graduate students at UBC Vancouver to the administration of UBC and all government levels to enhance the graduate student experience. The GSS was incorporated under the Society Act of BC in 1982. 

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UBC Graduate Student Society Urges University to Halt Redevelopment of Academic Zone into Private Housing