Oregon City Council Considering Expanding Protected Classes to Include “Students”

OR City Debates Students as Protected Class

The Ashland City Council in Oregon is considering a proposal to expand its definition of recognized protected classes under its Fair Housing ordinance to include students. This proposal is in response to claims by students that they are often denied housing opportunities based solely on their status as a student. The council voted in early April to have the Housing and Human Services Commission examine the issue. Ashland is home to Southern Oregon University (SOU), a mid-sized liberal arts college of about 7,000 students.

According to some SOU undergraduates, advertisements for rental housing outright state that students need not apply. Presently, students are not a protected class under city, state or federal laws. The council directed the commission to collect input from students, property owners and managers to find an equitable solution; specifically, the council wants property owners to explain why students may be undesirable residents and what students can do to increase their application’s chance of success. One councilor expressed doubt that students need to be a protected class, but noted that they should have some sort of options when it comes to finding rental housing.

(Ashland Daily Tidings)

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