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ECSU mulls mandatory on-campus housing

081117MovingIn2

Freshman Shavante McKinney arranges the bedding in her dorm room at Viking Tower after moving in to begin her first semester at Elizabeth City State University, Friday, Aug 11. ECSU officials are considering imposing a residency requirement for some students.

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

After years with­out any re­quire­ment, El­iz­a­beth City State Univer­sity may be­gin man­dat­ing that some stu­dents live in on-cam­pus hous­ing.

The topic of mandatory on-campus housing came up Tuesday during a discussion by a committee of ECSU trustees about ways to increase the university’s revenues.

During the meeting of the Finance, Audit and Strategic Planning Committee, trustees noted that having more students living in campus housing would improve the university’s revenue outlook. University officials agree that the most critical factor affecting the university’s financial situation is enrollment, and that meeting the campus’s target enrollment of 1,700 students in the 2018-19 academic year will move university finances in the right direction.

Trustee Andy Culpepper asked whether university officials have considered making it mandatory for students to live on campus.

Josh Lassiter, ECSU’s vice chancellor for business and finance, confirmed university staff have started looking into that possibility.

Interim Chancellor Karrie Dixon said staff had been looking at the pros and cons of having some kind of on-campus residence requirement. Dixon mentioned that one question university staff have begun to consider is what the distance from campus would have to be for a student to be exempt from such a requirement — how far away a student’s home could be and the student still be allowed to commute.

Suggestions have included a 20-mile or 25-mile radius from campus as the possible boundary line for exempting a student from an on-campus residency requirement.

Another question is whether such a requirement would apply only to first-year students or to other students as well.

Arthur Jackson, interim vice chancellor for student affairs whose last day in that post is Friday, said the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a number of other universities are moving toward on-campus residency requirements. Jackson said in general it’s a good idea.

But Jackson noted there needs to be discussion about how far from campus a student’s home should be before the residency requirement takes effect.

In addition, Jackson said university officials also need to recognize that, owing to financial realities, some students simply can’t afford to live on campus.

N.C. State University recently implemented a requirement that first-year students live on campus. UNC-Wilmington implemented an on-campus residence requirement for new full-time freshmen in 2016.

Other institutions such as UNC-Chapel Hill have had some kind of residency requirement in place for a longer time.

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