Sophomores should be allowed to live off campus

In college, students are taught to think for themselves and learn to make educated decisions.

But Western has already determined that some students shouldn’t decide where they should live.

Housing and Residence Life is requiring full-time freshmen and sophomores – students with less than 60 hours – to live on campus next year. Those students who decide to live off campus will have to pay a $1,000 fee.

While HRL argues that there are reasons to reinstate this rule, we think that both the rule and the fine students have to pay for breaking it is extreme.

Forcing students to pay $1,000 so they can choose where they want to live regardless of how old they are is crazy. Living off campus may provide a student the cheapest or most convenient living arrangement. Perhaps it would be easier to rent a room from a family. Or maybe it would be less expensive to share an apartment with several friends. Why should those students be punished for being thrifty or sensible?

The fine itself is just too exorbitant. The fine is almost the price of a dorm room. It would become yet another financial burden to students. Students have had to deal with tuition increases year after year. It is unfair to expect students to pay even more money for the sake of some rule.

Sophomores have been allowed to live off campus for two years. Why change that now? Rightfully, students should experience living in a dorm, but one year is sufficient for most students to get that experience. Students do not need two years to determine if they like living in a dorm. Let’s face it, dorms aren’t for everybody. Some freshmen will hate dorm living for a variety of reasons. Some don’t study well there. Some need more privacy. Some just want more cooking space.

One essential thing a college student needs is an ideal study and work environment. Some will realize after their freshman year that they cannot do quality work while living in a dorm. Why force them to be in an environment that stifles them from doing their best work?

Rule or no rule, there will still be sophomores who want to live on campus. Some will stay because their scholarship will pay for it. Others will want the ethernet and cable connection. Some enjoy the water pressure in the bathrooms. Then there are others who are involved in college activities and want to live on campus to be closer to the action. There’s probably not going to be a mass exodus of sophomores if HRL lightens up on the rule.

Even if HRL enforces the rule, those who want to live off campus will find a loophole so they can anyway. HRL mentions there are exceptions that would allow some underclassmen to live off campus. It’s pretty likely that some of those students will attempt to get an exemption. This editorial board has heard stories about people pretending they’re married or taking fewer hours so they could live off campus. If sophomores are going to such lengths to just live where they feel is best, HRL should just let them live off campus.

College is a time for students to explore independence and make choices for themselves. HRL needs to stop holding the hands of sophomores and let them decide the best place for them to live.

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 9-member board of student editors.