Postdoctoral Researchers Win Housing Victory at the University of Minnesota

On May 11, on the heels of an active campaign to protect their housing rights, University of Minnesota’s international researchers won the right to remain in their campus-based homes after being threatened with eviction.

In April of this year, postdoctoral researchers at the University of Minnesota received an eviction notice from Commonwealth Terrace Cooperative (CTC), the on-campus housing complex where University postdoctoral researchers, research associates and medical residents have lived in affordable family housing for the past 45 years. The CTC provides these international researchers with housing in a diverse and safe community with access to great public schools, daycare and playgrounds, all conveniently located near campus and at below-market rates.

The 60 families impacted by the eviction notices did not take the news lying down. The researchers and other campus workers united with MN Academics United/SEIU Local 284, in conjunction with the Postdoctoral Association, to fight the unexpected eviction notices–and they won!

Researchers started signing their union cards, collected family pictures and quotes for a massive social media campaign, drafted a petition letter and came to a Housing Authority meeting armed with a list of demands.  Faculty at the University of Minnesota also  rallied to support the impacted families by emailing the Housing Authority on their behalf.

On May 11, the researchers won every single demand they raised with the Housing Authority, including:

  • All researchers currently living at CTC have the right to remain in their homes; and
  • They can stay for the originally specified period of 7 total years; and
  • Their rent will not be raised; and
  • Researchers at a second housing complex will be given the same rights

As University of Minnesota postdoctoral researcher Dr. Sunny Chan said, “The University and CTC tried to force us out of our homes. But through our union we stood strong and pushed back against these heartless attempts to destabilize our families and won the right to stay in our homes at an affordable price.”