A Boston-area college student is waiting to see if he’ll be expelled after he was caught renting his dorm room out on Airbnb, an apparent violation of his school’s campus-housing contract.
Airbnb took down Jack Worth’s rental listing after Emerson College administrators found out about it, and Worth had to pay a $150 fine to the site. He told Boston.com he was just trying to cover some of his college costs while providing cheap housing in expensive downtown Boston.
“There’s a high level of interest of travel in this neighborhood because it’s so centrally located. I saw this as a way to make some money, but also help some people out,” he said.
A Change.org petition to “Free Jack Worth” — in other words, drop the disciplinary proceedings against him and allow him to stay at Emerson — had around 450 signatures as of Wednesday evening.
“The school is levying several charges of misconduct against him, which could result in disciplinary action as extreme as his dismissal,” the petition claims. “The charges will be formally brought in an upcoming student conduct hearing.”
The petitioners view what Worth did as “an honest, entrepreneurial endeavor,” they wrote. But Emerson sees it differently.
“The Emerson College Residence hall policy and the housing contract that undergraduate residents sign prohibit students from subleasing or renting College housing units or beds to protect the residents and the community from exposure to safety and security risks,” the school said in a statement.
On one hand, there’s a reason Airbnb has cracked down on people renting out properties they don’t own — it’s an obvious security risk to have “the dumbest person in your building passing out keys to your front door.” On the other, college costs, including housing, have ballooned over the past two decades out of all proportion with income growth, inflation, and basically any other economic measure. Can you blame the guy for trying?