Residency requirement extended to 4 years

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Allegheny College will enact a four-year on-campus residency requirement starting with next year’s freshman class.
This is a change from the three-year residency requirement in place for current students.

The change was brought to Allegheny Student Government for discussion at their meeting on Tuesday.
Although Allegheny has plans in place to enact the four-year residency requirement for the next school year, the policy is still pending a vote by the Board of Trustees in the winter.

Joe DiChristina, Dean of Students, presented the new policy to the Senate, provoking a lengthy debate.
According to DiChristina, a four-year residency requirement is the “norm” for small liberal arts schools such as Allegheny.

A four-year residency requirement would help in the development of Living Learning Communities, described as “integrated educational experiences that challenge students intellectually and socially,” according to a document distributed to the Senate.

The residency requirement would also foster a more inclusive and diverse campus environment, provide opportunities for students to interact with and lead their peers, and create a living situation where students could share experiences in order to develop a “vibrant residential community,” according to the document.

The Senate, however, was critical of the new policy.

Michael Albring, ’11, argued against Allegheny striving to be like other institutions, saying that the rationale goes against Allegheny’s own branding as “wonderfully weird.”

Joe Lasko, ’13, thought that the new policy might affect enrollment.

“I’m concerned that the four year residency requirement that Allegheny is going to enact for the class of 2015 may keep some potentially great students from enrolling at the College,” said Lasko in an interview after the meeting.

“Many college students value having the opportunity to live on their own in ‘the real world,’ and the new residency requirement will no longer give Allegheny students the ability to live independently and integrate fully into the Meadville community.”

Henry Dominguez, ’13, feared the new residency requirement might increase feelings of separation between Allegheny and Meadville.

“How can we be inclusive to the Meadville community if we can’t even live there?” said Dominguez.

Morgan Schrankel, ’13, echoed his sentiment.

“Allegheny is already seen as a ‘house on a hill’ by the Meadville community,” said Schrankel.

Schrankel believes encouraging students to live in town helps dissuade this perception.

Criticism was alleviated by DiChristina’s insistence that most seniors requesting to live off-campus will likely be allowed under the new policy.

According to DiChristina, there are currently no plans to build more residential spaces on campus.

Because of this, if enrollment stays the same, the school will have to allow seniors to live off-campus.

Despite this claim, DiChristina mentioned that the college’s eventual goal was to have 90 percent of students living on campus, though no time line for this goal was discussed.