Progress Report Updates & Upcoming

Safety & Accountability Measures

As the Students’ Co-op reopens, we are implementing increased safety and accountability measures based on feedback from partners and the community. These measures will ensure the Students’ Co-op is prepared for emergencies, its Bylaws and Policies are followed, and that members who violate policies, commit acts of violence, or conduct unlawful activity will be evicted from the property. 

These safety and accountability measures broadly fall into three categories: 

  1. Organizational changes, which change the way Students’ Co-op operates, how members are admitted, and how decisions are made. 
  2. Physical upgrades to the property to increase safety and security. 
  3. External partnerships which will provide resources for the cooperative and increase accountability.

Organizational Changes: 

Revised Mission Statement: 

We’ve updated our mission statement to better align with our values and operations:

The mission of the Students’ Co-operative, Inc. is to promote the social and general welfare of the community by offering affordable, cooperatively owned housing to all students, regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, public assistance, sexual orientation, gender identity, or familial status and thus influence the community to eliminate prejudice and discrimination in housing; and to initiate, coordinate, and otherwise participate in educational efforts and programs for the education of its members and others in the philosophy, principles, and practices of cooperatives.

As part of our dedication to this new mission, Students’ Co-op is also pursuing federal 501(c)(3) status as an affordable housing provider. This ensures that we will be able to provide affordable housing to low-income students for decades to come. In the interim, we’ve partnered with a nonprofit fiscal sponsor, who you can read more about below. 

Updated Membership Criteria: 

In order to provide affordable student housing, we’ve implemented new membership criteria, including: 

  • A University-affiliate quota: 75% of our members must be students or employees at an accredited post-secondary educational institution. Non-affiliates are waitlisted until this quota is met.
  • Low-Income Guidelines: Members are screened for income to ensure that Students’ Co-op meets IRS low-income housing guidelines by housing the required percentages of low-income and very-low income members
  • Criminal Background Screening: All applicants undergo criminal background screening. 
Governance Changes:

A number of governance changes have also been implemented, including: 

  • Addition of Alumni Advisors: Alumni now participate in the governance of Students’ Co-op as voting members at both board and house meetings. Appointed by Friends of the Students’ Co-op, Inc., Alumni Advisors serve two-year terms and assist with maintenance, management, and conflict mediation in the house during their tenure.
  • Our Bylaws and Policies have been modernized and overhauled. This includes additional powers granted to board members and alumni advisors to address any potential scenarios where a decision made by the House or Board is unlawful or in grievous violation of the Students’ Co-operative mission. This includes delaying the implementation of unlawful decisions and alerting external entities of any issues. 
  • A Safer Space policy has been ratified, which states our zero-tolerance approach to member criminal violence, threats of violence, and discrimination and outlines a process for dealing with any incidents. 
  • A Safety Plan has been published on our website, which covers a wide variety of safety and security measures, including fire safety, severe weather, personal safety, and building security. 

Physical Upgrades: 

Building Security: 
  • A robust security system has been installed on the property, including security cameras connected to a multifunctional internal server, which will monitor activity both indoors and outdoors going forward. 
  • Motion-activated flood lights have been installed around the exterior of the building
  • The Coop has an updated fire alarm system with both heat and smoke sensors throughout the house.
  • Doors, locks, and keypads have been replaced throughout the building, and a key management system is in place.

The Students’ Co-op has established or re-established a number of partnerships to provide support and resources for members and increase accountability going forward, including:  

  • Housing Hub: As our new property manager, Housing Hub will oversee leasing and maintenance of the property. This ensures that the Students’ Co-op remains in good repair, that membership processes such as criminal background screenings are maintained, and that evictions are executed swiftly and correctly when required.
  • Friends of The Students’ Co-op: This nonprofit was formed in Fall 2023 to appoint Alumni Advisors to the Students’ Co-op board, assist with fundraising, increase institutional memory, maintain awareness of Students Co-op activities, and celebrate the vast history of the organization and its members. 
  • NASCO: NASCO is an alliance of group-equity housing cooperatives from across North America. For several decades, NASCO has provided education and support to Students’ Co-op and many other co-ops across the country. This membership, which had lapsed in 2020, has been re-established and will be maintained and nurtured going forward. This means that NASCO staff will be able to provide guidance and support during day-to-day operations and help future member-owners navigate through any challenges as they arise. 
  • NASCO Properties: Students’ Co-op is also on a path to become a member of NASCO properties, a co-op of co-ops. What this means is that Students’ Co-op members will share ownership of the property with members of other housing co-ops around the US. For Students’ Co-op, this provides a great deal of financial stability, as well as additional support, guidance, supervision, and accountability. 
  • Cooperative Development Services (CDS): Student’s Co-op is on a path to register as a federal 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and CDS is acting as our nonprofit fiscal sponsor in the interim. For decades, CDS has provided consulting and educational support to co-ops like ours. 

For decades, the Students’ Co-op has provided a unique, enriching living experience for students from the Twin Cities. We are excited for the new and improved Students’ Co-op to open its doors and nurture a new generation of cooperative leaders. If you have additional questions about the cooperative or safety and security measures, we encourage you to check out our FAQ page and stay tuned to our Updates.