Student business a bust?

By Tristan Davis – Features Editor

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Illustration by Amanda Bennett

Emerson sophomore Jack Worth never had bad intentions. The college student living in Boston was just trying to make a buck, and who could blame him? The city is expensive, and no one ever complained about having too much money. So why was he facing potential eviction from his campus housing last month? The 19-year-old rented out his dorm room on the popular lodging rental site Airbnb, until school officials told him to permanently remove the ad.

I don’t believe Jack is a bad person, but I certainly wouldn’t ever condone using Airbnb to rent out your room to make extra cash. It does, after all, break two major rules set by Emerson College and the Airbnb rules and restrictions. The school’s housing and residence hall contract states residents are never permitted to rent out or lease their rooms for any reason. Chances are that most other colleges have a similar rule, which helps keep students and faculty safe from anyone with the ability to answer an ad and wander into a college living facility.

Worth also violated a rule of Airbnb’s, which says that all hosts are permitted to follow all of the local leasing regulations, and that using Airbnb does not give anyone special powers when renting out their living space. Worth claimed to have taken “extra steps” in ensuring everyone’s safety, but the world is a big place. Bad things happen. Situations like these are why.

On a slightly unrelated note, doesn’t Worth feel bad about making money off of a room his parents paid for? Unless he’s transferring the money he makes directly into his mother or father’s bank account after his customer pays him, that’s not good business. A smarter person would call that “ripping off your parents,” an act made even worse by the fact that he asks them for an almost $40,000 education every year. But I digress.

As someone who works on campus along with an upcoming summer internship, I understand that people have to make money. You won’t survive college without it. But what I will suggest is finding work that doesn’t involve letting strangers buy out your room so that they can get a good look at Boston Commons, walk around Government Center, and share the privately-owned campus with the bright and ambitious students that Emerson College has to offer.

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