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Freshmen should be allowed to choose housing like adults

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As I’m sure you all have heard, President E. Gordon Gee plans to enforce a requirement for not just first-years (excluding commuter students), but also second-years to live on campus by 2015. “Maybe 2016. Give me a year!” he joked at the quarterly meeting with The Lantern editorial board Monday. Gee was asked about different components of the project that might be concerns for project leaders and the community, including the physical space needed to house that many people, and also its effects on the off-campus housing market. However, the biggest gripe from first- and second-years would probably be their sheer thirst for getting out of a dorm.

While thinking about whether I thought making sophomores live on campus is right or wrong, I found myself reflecting on this question: Is it right to require first-years to live in dorms?

And I answered myself, “I don’t think it is.” It’s an ironic situation to me.

Dorms can be great. I see the benefit of living in a close community away from home: more opportunity, and therefore more likelihood, that you will make friends, thus enjoying your stay here. The convenience of living close to classes and resources like William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library and the RPAC is helpful, and the safety is unmatched. If I lived on Summit Street, I would think twice before studying at the library until midnight. I see all that the residence halls have to offer, and I think freshman should take advantage of it all, but I don’t think they should be forced to.

How did we get here in the first place? Well, we were responsible throughout high school, and when the time came, we made an adult decision to apply for college. We didn’t have to, though. When we graduated high school — actually when we turned 18 — we could have done whatever we pleased: lived with our parents, moved out, gotten married or joined the service. Great lives are achieved by many paths, but the path we chose was Ohio State, and we made that choice as adults, just like our high school counterparts who have already tied the knot. Why should our directional decision determine that we get less independence? Have we proven ourselves thus far to be untrustworthy? And how can one adult tell another adult — with the exception of the military for obvious reasons — where they must live when the latter has come to the institution of his own free will? How can society say to us high school graduates, “You may live and work where you please, but if you go to college like we want you to, we will revoke some of those freedoms?” It is ironic to me that with our newfound freedom of adulthood we come willingly to college only to be subjected to rules that suggest we are incapable of taking care of ourselves.

Trust me. I know not all students can or do take care of themselves. The statistics correlate living in residence halls to higher graduation rates. And I believe them. But as adults, I think we should hope that other adults make the right decisions for themselves and as for the ones who don’t, then that should prove to themselves, their parents and the university that they are not ready to be living on their own, and they need to deal with the consequences.

I know that Gee has only benevolent intentions by implementing this policy, and I have no disrespect for him, but being that the majority of us are over 18 years of age and that we came willingly to the university searching for an education, we should only be required to fulfill educational requirements, and the decision of where to live should be left up to us.

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