Against There’s more to it than the traditional argument

By JULIA MICHELThe two year on-campus living requirement is paternalistic, expensive and generally hated. It’s also a sound policy that, upon meeting certain conditions, should continue in future years. A few traditional reasons supporting the policy – sophomores aren’t mature enough to live on their own, it fosters a sense of an undergraduate, on-campus community, it provides convenience to out-of-staters – won’t be a part of my argument favoring its continuation. These arguments tend to be condescending – sophomores and even freshmen at other schools live off-campus – and disregard the value of choice and options when it comes to a student’s living location. There are a few pertinent reasons for continuing the requirement. Most notably, the two year on-campus living requirement keeps already exorbitant housing prices in Burlington from skyrocketing, an inevitable side effect of the increased demand an additional class would place on the system. Higher housing prices would not just affect students, but also faculty and other native Burlington residents unable to foot the higher bill.One has to look at the big picture in order to understand the second argument in favor of maintaining the on-campus living requirement. Allowing students to live off-campus would decrease the number of residents contributing to the fund supporting residence hall improvements, infrastructure and the quality of the dining halls, likely decreasing the quality of these services exponentially. As someone who often deals with the problems of VPN – as many students in the residence halls undoubtedly grapple with – I understand the critical support for infrastructure. Finally, the maturity of students does play an important role in the policy, though not in the sense that 19 and 20-year-olds cannot control of petty crime. Burlington. students who cannot legitimately afford the higher price of on-campus housing. This is an absolutely necessary addendum to the current policy, especially considering tough economic times. That said, students have every right to feel resentful of the policy; many off-campus living locations’ home costs – including utilities and food – add up to less than current on-campus room and board. They have every right to feel talked down to by the “we know what’s best” tone. In meetings, I’ve heard the phrase “unleash into Burlington” come out of administrators’ mouths when referring to students moving off-campus. This remains absolutely the wrong message to convey about UVM students. As almost one quarter of the Burlington population collectively, students sustain Burlington just as much as Burlington sustains its students. No university should require living on-campus if they’re not able to provide good customer service – in recent years this has occurred at UVM and will likely continue unless it funds new residence halls or stems growing class sizes. But, with a quick facelift, the policy can and should remain in place.