Emily Tara / Lantern photographer
Ohio State could become a university that requires students to live in dorms for their first and second years.
It is not yet set in stone that students must live in campus dorms for their first two years at OSU, but it is in the “exploratory” phase, Ruth Gerstner, director of communications for the Office of Student Life, said in an email.
Gerstner said there are numerous benefits for students living in dorms through their second year.
“There is evidence that students who live on campus for two years graduate more quickly and at higher rates than those who live on campus for only one year,” Gerstner said in the email. “Their retention rate, connection to the university and involvement rates are also higher.”
This second-year residential living requirement is not new to the university. It has been a rule since 1965, but due to a lack in supply of housing it has been unenforceable, Gerstner said in the email.
President E. Gordon Gee has told The Lantern on numerous occasions that requiring all first- and second-years living in residence halls is a goal of his. Gee outlined his plan in January.
“We started on the south campus; we move to the north campus; we’ll try to figure out what to do with … Lincoln and Morrill towers,” Gee said. “That’s our No. 1 priority.”
Gee also reiterated that the requirement is already a university rule, but because of space issue, again, it is unenforceable. Gee said his plan will solve that issue.
“The second thing would be to build enough significant additional housing to be able to house all freshmen and sophomores on the campus,” GEe said. “We will not enforce any arbitrary conditions until we have the ability to be able to ensure that housing is available.”
Gerstner said there are several benefits to dorm-life.
“Reviving enforcement of the second-year residential living requirement is being considered because we believe that it is in students’ best interest and will contribute to their academic and personal development and success,” she said in the email.
Despite these benefits, some people have concerns about the potential requirement.
Michael Linsker, office manager of NorthSteppe Realty, said he is not in favor of the possible change. NorthSteppe Realty rents housing to students off-campus.
“I would say there’s definitely a good chance that it won’t have a positive affect on us,” Linsker said. “We would much rather have them just have a one-year living requirement.”
Alyson Englehart, a fourth-year in sport and leadership studies, said there are possible negative affects the requirement could have on off-campus real-estate agencies.
“That’s a whole year of students, a whole class, that’s not going to be looking for housing on campus,” Englehart said. “I know when Miami switched over, my dad has a friend who has houses on Miami’s campus, and he said that one of the houses was completely vacant for a whole year. It affects landlords big time.”
Miami University began requiring students to live in residential housing for two years in 2008.
Matt Crockett, a second-year in finance and sports management, also had some concerns. Students who do not get along with their first-year roommates are eager to get out of the dorms, he said.
“I had a roommate and we didn’t share the same interests,” he said. “I just wanted to stay with my friends and get off campus and have a car.”
Englehart said she thinks the university is considering this option for financial gains.
“I just feel like the university is doing it to make more money,” she said. “I don’t know how they would fit everyone.”
OSU does not have enough housing to hold all of the second-year and transfer students who currently desire to live on campus, Gerstner said in the email.
Fees for on-campus housing, if the two-year requirement goes into affect, would be based on accommodations rather than class rank, she said. Current OSU residential rates are between $1,765 and $2,420 per quarter, according to urds.osu.edu.
Englehart and Crockett both said they would have taken the two-year residential living requirement into consideration if it had been in affect when they applied to the university, but they would have likely attended OSU regardless.
“I think I would deal with it,” Englehart said. “I wouldn’t be happy about it.”