Cabinet affirms innovation proposal for on-campus living requirement
By Jasmine Johnson
During the November community gathering, Innovations Working Groups presented possible proposals they could implement to improve the university. Three months later, president Jay Barnes announced the actions taken to move forward with some of the recommendations.
The first of these confirmed proposals was a required, on-campus housing initiative for students under the age of 21 to “increase the feeling of community,” Bender said. In his presentation, Bender also stated that Student Life supported the pursuit of this idea, since it would further unify students.
The original purpose for these innovations was to “increase productivity, reduce non-payroll expenses and provide new nonacademic revenue.”
When discussing the pros and cons, Bender continued by saying that studies indicate this is good for students, Bethel has enough available housing and it is common at other similar institutions.
“We came to this idea to extend our housing policy to students 21 and under after reviewing student housing needs, including an ongoing renovation plan, and setting a goal for Residence Life to better create on-campus communities to provide a sense of belonging,” Vice President for Student Life Dr. William Washington said. “Based on our survey data and the overwhelming impact that residential living has on students, it felt important to make this change.”
In the recent email announcement from Barnes, he confirmed a few of the details.
“This change will start with incoming first-year students for Fall 2019,” Barnes said. “All currently enrolled students will be grandfathered in. Special conditions have been developed for transfer students.”
As an innovation being grandfathered in, the old regulations will continue to apply to current students, while this new rule will apply to all incoming freshmen in the future.
PSEO students or those commuting from home who are currently exempt from the housing policy will still be able to live off campus. Any transfer students will have to submit an appeal.
“Our hope is that the new policy will… build stronger communities on Bethel’s campus,” Washington said.
We asked students what they thought about this recent decision. Watch this Thoughts from the Bubble video to hear their responses.
This story has been updated to include comments from Bethel administrators.