AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – A student protest at UMass Amherst Campus Thursday called on the administration to address the lack of available and affordable housing.

UMass Amherst students are asking that the university only enroll as many students as the university infrastructure can support. These students switched out their beds for tents in protest of what they say is a housing crisis on campus. “It’s a manufactured crisis, its due to over admittance of students, its due to not building enough on campus housing, this public private partnership where they are outsourcing to private entities,” says UMass senior.

This protest, also sparked by a recent email from Residential Life, that indicated there are 900 more appointment requests than there are spaces available on campus and that they are not able to guarantee all students will be able to select a housing assignment on campus.

According to a spokesperson for UMass, they say this fall, there will be more housing available with the opening of a new private market, apartment-style housing on campus being built in partnership with a developer on Massachusetts Avenue, including 623 beds of undergraduate housing. The spokesperson also notes, “In the aftermath of the pandemic, a growing percentage of undergraduate students at UMass Amherst want to live on campus. As a result, the university cannot fulfill all requests to live in university housing.”

As for the new private housing and the overall housing market in Amherst, students say the cost of living is too expensive. A lot of students are afraid, and some are considering taking time off, a gap year, because they can’t live there.

The spokesperson adds that UMass Amherst is offering assistance to students in their search for housing in the Amherst area. Since 2006, the administration says more than 2,000 beds have been added in response to the need for additional housing.