Tuesday, May 22, 2018

SGA Addresses Mandatory On-Campus Housing

EMMELINE ENDRESEN ’21

STAFF WRITER

On Sunday April 22, Dean Joe DiChristina met with the Student Government Association (SGA) to discuss and review results from a recent housing survey. The survey was intended to determine what students care about regarding housing and housing policy. The top listed reason why 16.13% of students currently live off campus was for a more independent lifestyle, followed by the fact that it is more affordable (14.52%), and that campus housing is sub-par (13.71%). However, the number one reason why students would consider living off campus was because they would want to live in a Greek house (17.89%). In order of popular response, the top factors that students listed as being important in ideal housing arrangements were security of belongings, fast WiFi, quality of bathrooms, and cooling.

Discussion of these survey results led to a review of a potential new housing policy. While Trinity does not have a written policy about a residency requirement, students are “required” to live on campus. However, sophomores through seniors are allowed to apply for off-campus housing on a first-come, first-served basis, with a cap at around 200 off-campus residents. The new policy proposes that all first and second year students be required to live on campus. Any junior or senior who wishes to live off campus would be able to do so, and as Dean DiChristina put it, the process would be “less of an application and more of a notification.” He predicted that the number of off-campus residents would probably still sit around 200. The rationale for the new policy was that it would provide students with a solid structure in order to successfully navigate the transition into college as well as promote an engagement with the Trinity community.

However, the majority of respondents to the housing survey (45.44%) wanted the requirement for on campus living to apply only to their first year. Additionally, there are currently only 35 sophomores who live off- campus, and there was a concern brought up that such a small number might not constitute a need for policy change. SGA President Emily Claytor, proposed a slightly different policy.

She suggested that only freshmen would be required to live on campus, and the cap of off-campus residents would be kept at 200, but the way to go about applying to live off-campus would change. Instead of applications relying on a first-come, first-served basis, she suggested, there would be sectioned times for seniors, juniors, and sophomores to apply. So there would be less sophomores allowed off-campus, but some would still be allowed. One SGA member then proposed the possibility of weighing in merits in the application process such as GPA, disciplinary history, and extra-curricular involvement. Another member suggested the possibility of having a two-year on-campus housing requirement,but the student may choose which two years.

Any change to the housing policy would be enacted for the Class of 2022. The meeting wrapped up with a brief discussion of fire alarm safety. The concern was brought up that during fire alarm drills students tend to not leave their buildings immediately because they are worried about hiding prohibited items. There is clearly a need to make sure that students are prioritizing safety first. Dean DiChristina feels that there should be no disciplinary action taken against students whose rooms contain prohibited items such as bottles of alcohol during fire drills. He was unsure of the actual policy regarding this issue and plans on following up on it. Ultimately the policy of RA’s for when they do and do not need to write students up for these things must be reviewed further.

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