Student may face penalty for renting dorm room on Airbnb

by Nathanael King / Beacon Staff • February 4, 2016

Jack Worth, a sophomore visual and media arts major, faces disciplinary action for renting out his dorm room in Little Building on Airbnb.

A statement from the college to the Beacon read, “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 declined to disclose any student conduct violations, but went on, “An attempt by any student to sublet their Emerson residence hall room would be in clear violation of the College’s Residence Hall policies.”

The 2015-2016 housing contract states that only the person signing has the right to occupy the room and does not intend to have tenants on the property.

A change.org petition titled “Free Jack Worth” calls for signers to support “Jack and his honest, entrepreneurial endeavor.” It said that the rentals, which allegedly occurred in January, have resulted in a $150 fine from the site, the removal of his listing, and charges of misconduct from the college. According to the Boston Globe, Airbnb has since refunded the fee.

Sydney Stachyra, a senior performing arts major, said she doesn’t think that Worth was justified in renting out his room, but she did feel empathy for students with financial hardships.

“I completely get both sides of it,” Benjamin Yumkas, a sophomore visual and media arts major, said.  “If he had to go to that extent to afford to come here, then that’s a problem.”

Yumkas said that violating the housing contract, however, was not the way to combat this issue of finances.

Worth declined to comment on the situation while his case is still pending.