California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Residence Life needs to update its policy for students who wish to live off campus

In my opinion, California Lutheran University’s Residence Life needs to update its residence policy to better incorporate students who wish to live off campus. 

According to Residence Life’s website, they require that all students who are not senior standing (90+ credits) or living with their parents within a 30-mile radius live in university-provided housing. There is a petition process for those students looking to be approved for off-campus housing when within those requirements, yet for most it is a challenging one. 

I went through this process at the beginning of the 2024 spring semester. Currently standing as a junior (2 credits away from senior standing), I was seeking permission to move off campus for mental health reasons. In my dealings with Residence Life, my housing payment seemed to be more important than my actual well-being. 

Residence Life’s mission statement contains the following, “In addition to supporting the safety, comfort, and well-being of our resident students, we seek to help each student feel a connection to the Cal Lutheran community and respect for all of its members.”

My experience made me feel disrespected by Cal Lutheran and therefore did the opposite of creating a “connection” with the institution. I am not the only student to have experienced similar issues within this process. 

In an email interview, junior Kelly Alexander spoke on whether she believed residence life was truly concerned with the well-being of students seeking off-campus housing. 

“I do not. I first tried to cancel my meal plan as I explained to them that it was a big part of the reason I wanted to move off campus; however, they did not allow me to do that,” Alexander said. “The process of trying to get off campus is a lot of work, and you must have a professional write a letter. I felt really thankful I had all of the resources I did; however, I know many people do not have that and I can’t imagine how difficult it would be for them.”

Assistant Dean of Students, Director of Residence Life and Student Conduct and Deputy Title IX Coordinator Christine Paul said the process in place is not only for university financial reasons but to prohibit false claims. 

“Unfortunately people lie, big time, and even make up some pretty big things,” Paul said. 

The living spaces are somewhere a student must feel comfortable in, if not they are likely to suffer anywhere from the classroom to the court. 

Cal Lutheran, a small private institution without federal funding, relies on tuition, room, board, donors, etc. for funding. A housing requirement does make sense, yet, this does not mean Cal Lutheran’s cannot be improved. 

Alexander said she thinks that possible changes to the housing policy can help improve students’ situations.

“I think it could definitely be improved. Your living space is a space you are in every day, and you can not avoid it. Res life does not treat the matters as such and I think that’s an issue,” Alexander said. 

Pepperdine University, another private institution located in Malibu, CA only requires students to live on campus for their first and second years, and after that, they are given a choice to live on or off campus. The University of Portland, another private institution with similar enrollment to Cal Lutheran, has the same system as Pepperdine. I believe that the implementation of a similar policy would provide more flexibility to students looking to change their living situation. 

Residence Life provides good options for on-campus housing, yet these spaces are not for everyone.

Making students who are looking for something different battle for that opportunity does not reflect a department that claims it strives to support the well-being of its students. I believe Residence Life needs to update its policy, to create better opportunities for students wishing to live off campus. 

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  • S

    SFApr 9, 2024 at 9:41 am

    Great points. It’s important to note that Cal Lutheran does receive federal funding through a variety of routes, including its identity as an HSI.