ASUO Senate will vote on a resolution against the on-campus living requirement this week.
“We want to make sure we do it right,” Senator Andrew Dunn said. “The resolution is about a serious policy at the university, so we want to make solid arguments that show we care.”
University Housing Director Michael Griffel said the requirement will take effect fall 2017, when the new 500-bed residence hall opens. UO expects to house 4,300 incoming freshmen, Griffel said.
Dunn and Senator Max Burns both work as resident assistants and have insight into UO Housing’s operational plan. With the assistance of Senator Zach Rentschler and freshman Senator Keegan Williams-Thomas, the four drafted a resolution, asking Griffel to reconsider the requirement.
The drafted resolution accused UO Housing of operating on profits instead of students’ benefits. Burns said UO Housing is competing against luxury off-campus apartments like the Hub.
“Students who are just trying to scrape by do not need all these amenities that the UO is trying to provide. There will be many Oregonians who cannot afford to come to school anymore and it will price out students from [out of state],” Burns said.
With the university potentially raising tuition by 4.7 percent for in-state students and 4.46 percent for out-of-state students, Dunn said the live-in requirement needs to be reconsidered.
“The idea that ‘We care about our students’ is contradictory to [the requirement],” Dunn said. “We have such a large out-of-state community on campus, if they can’t afford to live on campus, then what are their options?”
Students living on campus are more likely to stay in school and graduate within four years, Griffel said. In the last 15 years, many other universities in Oregon have implemented a first year live-in requirement, including Oregon State University, Southern Oregon University and Lewis and Clark University.
“The university is working very hard toward students’ success and affordability. [The requirement] is is an initiative to improve students’ success,” Griffel said.
In the meantime, Griffel said the university is working hard to lower on-campus living costs, but it’s uncertain how helpful it would be.
“Affordability and accessibility are very high priorities,” Griffel said. “But [the details] have been not finalized yet.”
UO Housing is likely to cut food costs, but that’s not likely to provide enough affordable options, Dunn said. In addition, the Bean East hall renovation is set to start in fall 2017, which will take away 150 beds from one of the most housing affordable options, Dunn said.
Griffel met with three senators on Feb. 3, but Burns said the meeting was unproductive. Dunn hopes the senate will pass the resolution, bringing more students’ attention to the requirement and getting the University Senate and Board of Trustees to rally behind it.
“Once it [implemented], it would be very hard to reverse it,” Rentschler said at the senate meeting. “We need to act now and act fast.”