Living in Boston isn’t cheap, which can be a problem for the city’s 250,000 college students. Looking to make some extra cash, one Emerson College student decided he’d let those visiting Boston book their stay in his dorm room rather than one of the city’s hotels.
Jack Worth, a 19-year-old sophomore studying visual and media arts, listed his room on Airbnb in January. Now, he’s facing potential disciplinary action from the college after Emerson officials say he violated the school’s residential policies.
“Emerson is a fantastic location,” Worth told Boston.com. “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.”
Worth said that Emerson became aware of the listing late last week and told him to remove it Friday. After deleting the page, Worth said he was fined $150 by Airbnb.
The listing was available for a little over two weeks, Worth said, and he hosted three different guests during that time.
Worth did not say how much he charged for the room, but said he had hoped to offset some of the expenses he’s incurred attending the school.
“Room and board prices are very expensive,” he said.
While an email statement from Emerson to Boston.com said that the college would not comment on Worth’s specific case, it did note that any attempt to sublet or rent a dorm room violates school policies.
“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 residents and the community from exposure to safety and security risks,” the statement said.
Worth said he “had not read anything explicitly stating that” renting his dorm room would violate the college’s codes.
A Change.org petition launched Sunday night in support of Worth had garnered 153 of the 200 signatures it had set as its goal by Monday afternoon. The petition stated that the charges the college has levied against Worth could result in his dismissal from the school. Worth said he didn’t want to comment on the specifics of the charges or the potential disciplinary actions associated with them at this time.
“There is nothing criminal with providing cheap housing to travelers,” another Emerson student named Ari Howorth wrote in the petition. “Jack Worth gave travelers from far and wide a taste of [Boston] life and the Emerson experience simply because he wanted to help those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford to stay in the downtown area. If the Emerson community is as inclusive as it claims to be, it should act it.”