By Matthew Kaufman
The College will not enact a residency requirement for first-year students next year, Kelly Hennessy, assistant vice president of student development, said in an emailed statement.
The announcement comes after members of Residential Education and Housing (ResEd) presented to Student Government and the Residence Hall Association (RHA) last month, soliciting feedback from the student representatives.
“The input we received from the Residence Hall Association, Student Government and other stakeholders proved to be invaluable in the comprehensive review process,” Hennesssy wrote in the email. “After careful consideration, we have concluded that it is not the right time to proceed with the establishment of a First Year Housing Requirement.”
The proposal had received a mixed reaction from students, who were concerned about the economic pressure the requirement would place on commuter students.
Delaney Smith, president of RHA and a junior journalism and professional writing major, said that she was glad to see the requirement would not be going into effect yet.
“I think they made the correct decision,” Smith said. “If they had implemented it, you would see a lot of commuter students not be happy with the decision.”
In a follow-up email to The Signal, Hennessy explained that the decision not to go ahead with the plan was based on the feedback received from students, as well as the burden that implementing such a plan would have placed on ResEd’s staff.
“The Residential Education & Housing team has dedicated considerable effort to craft a meticulous exemption process,” Hennessy said, “which involved extensive consultations with various stakeholders and benchmarking against similar requirements at other institutions. At this time, the process would be time intensive and take away from other areas of focus.”
She also reiterated ResEd’s belief that “a residential experience positively contributes to student persistence to a degree” and said that the team will continue to strengthen the College’s residential system.
While there are no current plans to implement a first-year housing requirement in upcoming years, Hennessy added that it is still possible for ResEd to re-examine a need for this policy in the future.
The other new housing policy that ResEd presented to students, a differential housing cost based on room occupancy, will be going into effect next year. The exact pricing structure has not yet been decided.
Update Nov. 6: This story has been updated with further comments from Hennessy.
Our Nov. 3 issue contains an editorial related to this issue. While the article is still the opinion of The Signal, we recognize that the situation has changed.