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Airbnb refunds Emerson student who rented dorm room

According to Emerson officials, students are prohibited from renting out their rooms on campus.Matt Kalinowski for the Boston Globe/File

One of the co-founders of Airbnb reached out Tuesday to an Emerson College student who is facing possible disciplinary action after subletting his dorm room using the short-term rental website.

Nathan Blecharczyk, a Harvard University graduate and Airbnb’s chief technology officer, said in a tweet to Emerson student Jack Worth that, at first, the best ideas may break the rules and be frowned upon — but that doesn’t mean they should be squandered.

“Don’t forget, dorm-room businesses were forbidden at Harvard; then Facebook was born on campus. Great ideas eventually win,” Blecharczyk said in a Tweet sent to Worth Tuesday night, hours after media outlets reported that the 19-year-old sophomore would soon go before a school panel for possible punishment.


According to Emerson officials, students are prohibited from renting out their rooms on campus.

Worth rented his single, private room to three different people during the month of January, he said. Worth admitted in an interview with the Globe on Tuesday that he had violated at least one of the school’s housing policies.

Airbnb also refunded Worth on Wednesday the $150 automatic charge he incurred when he took down his listing at the request of Emerson officials. The charges were for canceling on guests who had already booked the room.

According to the company, it seemed like Worth already had enough on his plate.

Worth said Wednesday he didn’t realize that one of Airbnb’s founders had reached out to him on Twitter. When he connected the dots, he said it was “cool.”

“I think they understand the spirit in which it was all sort of organized,” he said.

Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.