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Duke Officals Consider Mandatory Onb-Campus Living for Sophomores

The school's Residential Program Review, which examines campus housing policies, has proposed that all sophomores be required to live on Duke's West Campus starting in fall 2002.

Judith White, director of the Residential Program Review, said the proposal builds on the success of the first-year program, which requires freshmen to live on campus in an attempt to ease the transition to college life.

"(The proposal is) a follow-up on the success of the first-year program," White said. "The real plan is to have a first-year on East and a second on West."

She said the proposal requires the approval of the Board of Trustees, which will consider it either in May or next fall.

White said most students had already greeted the proposal favorably, and the plan itself was based on conversations with students throughout the past.

White said the plan would not be ratified through student referendum.

"We're thinking more about how this will affect future Duke students than current ones," she said.

The plan, if implemented, would actually effect minimal change in the composition of West Campus residence halls, as only about 150 of the school's sophomores, including Eva Wilkinson, currently live off-campus.

"We wanted to live on West Campus, but we ended up getting the only dorm on Central Campus," Wilkinson said.

Instead of accepting the less desirable dorm assignment, Wilkinson said she and her roommate rented an off-campus apartment.

"We definitely miss living on campus and being in the middle of everything," she said. "As long as there's enough housing, it's a good idea to have all sophomores live on campus."

But White said she recognizes that the plan might create small inconveniences for approximately 150 upperclassmen who currently reside on West Campus and would be displaced by the measure.

She said the university might have to offer those students Central Campus apartments.

But the move would not hurt the upperclassmen financially since the Central Campus apartments' rates are actually cheaper than the residence halls, White said.

UNC's Director of Housing and Residential Education, Christopher Payne, said while UNC has no campus housing requirement, living on campus has its benefits.

"The reasoning for requiring people to live on campus is primarily for convenience, security and connection with the social and intellectual climate," Payne said.

But Payne says he believes UNC has addressed those living issues without a housing requirement. "We try to structure our campus living communities to meet those needs," Payne said.

Whether the Duke plan passes or not, Duke officials said the upperclassmen do not have to worry about becoming homeless.

Bill Burig, Duke's assistant dean for housing assignments, said the university is committed to providing undergraduate housing.

"Students are guaranteed four years of housing at this school," Burig said. "This office is required to find them a bed if they apply for one."

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