Class of 2023 Experiences Housing Confusion

Photo courtesy of Catholic U Housing Services

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, housing at Catholic University has been highly variable. The most impacted group has been the class of 2023, who have moved on and off-campus multiple times. 

At their orientations and campus tours, the class of 2023 was told they would be required to live on campus for three years, up until their junior year. However, due to the pandemic, all student residences were vacated. In the fall of 2020, housing invited only the freshman class of 2024 to live on campus. Most lived in the residence hall usually reserved for sophomores, Opus, while others lived in Centennial Village. 

In the spring of 2021, the housing policy for Catholic University students changed, applying the on-campus residential rules to juniors as well, starting with the class of 2023. 

“Currently, The Catholic University of America requires that all freshmen and sophomore undergraduate students live in campus housing unless they reside with a parent or legal guardian within 20 miles of campus or are 21 years of age or older,” reads the housing policy. “Students who fall under the foregoing exceptions need not request an exemption to the on-campus residency requirement.  Effective with the class of 2023, the foregoing requirements and exceptions will apply to junior undergraduate students as well as freshmen and sophomores.”

Many current juniors, the class of 2023, moved back to the area to live in off-campus housing during the fall semester of 2020. Having lived off-campus for a year, the reversion in policy has proved annoying. 

“I think that the new housing and visitation policies are a little strict, especially since we can leave campus whenever we please, so it doesn’t make much sense to restrict students from going to each other’s dorms,” said junior psychology major Clara Hodsen. “I also think juniors should be able to live off-campus because it can save money and by that age, they’re old enough to accept the responsibilities of living off-campus.”

Junior music theater major Carolyn Tachoir thinks that being forced to live on campus after being previously forced off creates a rift in the level of freedom that juniors expect in their living situations.

“I also think juniors should be able to have more freedom if they live on campus,” Tachoir said. 

Junior psychology major Rebecca Roberts agrees with this sentiment. 

“I think it’s ridiculous to require juniors to both live on campus and have a meal plan,” Roberts said. “Juniors are 20-21 years old, they do not need to be forced to rely on a cafeteria anymore. I can save money and cook my own meals in this apartment with a kitchen that I am paying the university to stay in.”

Although it is an added convenience and level of freedom, some worry about the social impact that Catholic University students have on the Brookland community. Being contained on the campus lowers the amount of gentrification from students. 

“I don’t like that we are required to live on campus- I think it’s unfair that earlier grades were allowed to and I think it allows for students to gain the perspective of independence and what life will or can be like after we graduate,” said junior architecture major Mary Pilkington. “But at the same time, especially in this area, students living off-campus contribute to gentrification which is pushing a lot of the residents of Brookland out of the area because of how expensive rent is becoming. So living on campus helps to stop this from happening.”

During tours and admissions events, Cardinal Ambassadors advertise a three-year commitment to living on campus, indicating that the new policy does not seem to be going anywhere. 

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