Off-Campus Housing Limitations — A Movement Away From Personal Freedom

Many students reflect fondly on the Holy Cross move-in day experience: an enthusiastic greeting from student volunteers is complemented by an overwhelming sense of excitement that comes with the independence and freedom of college. As students progress, this excitement is gradually subdued by the realization that many aspects of the living conditions within residence halls are not as promising as you first enter Holy Cross. Despite nationally-recognized academic prowess and a continued expansion of athletics and the performing arts, it is clear Holy Cross lacks commitment to quality residential life, especially in underclassmen resident halls. The light at the end of the tunnel for many students is the opportunity and privilege to live off-campus their senior year. However, with the new process adopted by Residence Life this year, many rising seniors will be unable to have this taste of freedom and independent living.

Although living off-campus is a beneficial experience for many Holy Cross students, the administration presumably loses a large amount of money that comes from “Room and Board” tuition fees. Some students do opt for various meal plans, but the majority forgo this part of the tuition all together. In other words, when students choose to live off campus, they choose to lease a specific house and pay rent to that respective landlord rather than paying the school an amount for the cost of living within a residence hall. Thus, the administration only receives the remaining amount of tuition from these students, which is $48,940 as opposed to $62,265. Recently, there has been a shift within the administration to limit the number of students permitted to live off-campus in order to prevent this scale of loss of profits in the future. In addition, the senior resident halls won’t be able to house the large number of students in the Class of 2018 and future classes. Figge can only house 156 seniors, and Williams houses 244. With a lower number of students being approved to live off-campus, more and more seniors will be pushed to traditional junior year housing. The Holy Cross Senate believes that this movement should be opposed and further justified by the administration, because it directly opposes core Jesuit values.

As stated in the mission statement: “Holy Cross seeks to build a community marked by freedom, mutual respect, and civility.” This is one of the reasons we love Holy Cross and a liberal arts experience, the emphasis on personal freedom and discovery. The school strongly promotes living by cura personalis yet restricting students from moving off campus directly violates this value of care for the entire person. Students currently living off-campus express gratitude for the lessons they are taught about living in the real world. They learn how to pay bills, deal with landlords, and live on their own with private social spaces among the Worcester community prior to leaving Holy Cross. Preventing responsible students from living off-campus and forcing them to reside in dormitories in subpar conditions for the sake of financial profit is against Jesuit values and cannot be allowed. We, as a student body, must oppose this movement.

 

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