ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of New Mexico is moving forward with a plan to require incoming freshmen to live on campus.

Student leaders have criticized the policy, saying housing choice is one of the university’s selling points, The Albuquerque Journal reported (http://bit.ly/2ccHof2).

But the Board of Regents approved the measure with a 5-to-2 vote. Supporters say students who spend their early years on campus are likely to do better academically.

Student regent Ryan Berryman voted against the measure, though he said he does recommend on-campus housing.

“We talk about this mandate like we want it to make us a destination university. But I think that happens organically,” Berryman said. “I just don’t think it’s the university’s place to mandate how someone spends their money or where they should live.”

The living requirement is set to take effect in 2018 and would allow several exceptions. Students would be allowed to live with family members within 30 miles of the university, and they could get out of dorm living if it would pose an “undue hardship” — financial or otherwise.

Some students, including 19-year-old Danielle Kirven, a senator with ASUNM and a member of the Black Student Alliance, the student government, believe the university should implement the change more slowly.

“A lot of our students who live on campus have voiced a sense of feeling out of place or frustration that comes with always having to explain themselves, which can contribute to a lack of engagement and negative performance academically,” Kirven said, saying a slower adoption of the program would assuage some of those feelings.

Board of Regents President Rob Doughty seemed to hear those concerns, as he changed the policy to start in 2018 instead of 2017.


Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com