Previously, on SGA: Residency Requirement Unrest


The following covers the meeting on Feb. 10.


Senior senator Polo Perez began the meeting by asking whether any plans have been made for graduation. Adviser David Tuttle had no information but said to contact the Commencement Committee. President Jaelen Harris, senior, said he would reach out to the committee.


Michelle Byrne, director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness, attended the meeting to discuss the spring 2021 student check-in survey. Byrne explained that the three goals of the survey are to understand how students are doing, address current concerns and make considerations about the future. After Byrne read through the survey, several senators made question-level suggestions.
Tuttle expressed reservations about one survey question which would ask students whether they would prefer a one, two or three-year residency requirement. Tuttle said it was extremely unlikely that the Board of Trustees would alter the requirement, as he himself had tried to raise the issue in the past. Therefore, the question would advertise a false possibility of change and should be omitted, according to Tuttle. First-year senator Steven Cox disagreed, saying the question was worth including and that the Board of Trustees should still see it.


Vice president Oliver Chapin-Eiserloh, junior, mentioned the growing amount of rollover in the Student Activity Fund (SAF). This is a problem that began when Fetty Wap was unable to perform at the 2019 Welcome Week Concert and has only grown due the pandemic. VP Chapin-Eiserloh asked the members to be thinking about ways the money could be used to improve campus in the future.


The university’s decision to reinstate the three-year residency requirement sparked debate among meeting attendees. While Tuttle and vice president of Enrollment Management Eric Maloof were optimistic about students returning to campus in fall 2021, some SGA members weren’t so sure.
Chief of Staff Noor Rahman, junior, was concerned about the unpredictability of the virus and said it was unfair for the university to force students back to campus. To this, Tuttle emphasized that although the university is making preparations for a more complete return in the fall, it will still pivot if the pandemic worsens.
Senior senator Polo Perez expressed frustration that the Board of Trustees is ignoring students’ calls for a change to the residency requirement. Senator Perez stated that the requirement only benefits the university and not the students, citing peers who had left the school due to residence-related financial reasons, as well as peers who have experienced health issues due to mold in dorms.
Tuttle cautioned against using anecdotal evidence, saying that most withdrawals are due to school fit and not residency issues, and that rooms do not cause sickness. However, senator Perez maintained that the mold was a serious problem, a sentiment echoed by other SGA members in the Zoom chat.
VP Chapin-Eiserloh pointed out that uncertainty due to the pandemic and discontent with the residency requirement in general are two distinct issues and should be addressed separately. President Harris agreed and closed the meeting by saying that SGA would continue the discussion of the issue.