BOSTON (Reuters) - A Boston-area college student has gotten into hot water with his school for trying to rent out his dorm room on the online home-sharing service AirBNB.
The student listed his dorm room at Emerson College in downtown Boston on the site last month, according to a petition on the website Change.Org tiled "Free Jack Worth," which is asking the school to drop disciplinary proceedings against him.
"There is nothing criminal with providing cheap housing to travelers," said a supporter and fellow student, Ari Howorth, on the petition. (https://www.change.org/p/emerson-college-free-jack-worth)
"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."
The petition, which 180 people had signed in support by Monday, said that Worth had already faced $150 in fines and could be dismissed from the school as a result of pending misconduct charges.
An Emerson spokesman declined to comment on the particular case, citing privacy rules, but said that the school does not allow students to sublet their dorm rooms.
"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," spokesman Andy Tiedemann said in an e-mail.
The San Francisco-based start up, which has been expanding rapidly, has faced criticism that it skirts laws intended to protect hotel guests and collect taxes. The $25.5 billion company last year successfully fought off an effort to restrict short-term rentals in its home city.
"We ask all of our hosts to follow their local rules and regulations," said AirBNB spokesman Christopher Nulty.
Efforts to reach the student for comment were unsuccessful.
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by James Dalgleish)