The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.
When Murray State recruits new students, the residential college system is advertised as the best option for students. Residential colleges are different from dorms because they’re cohesive, they form a sense of community and they help get students involved through intramural sports and clubs.
Murray State believes in the colleges so much they require students who live more than 50 miles away from campus to live in them for two years. This wouldn’t be a problem for most students, but there have been several issues within the colleges that make this transaction unfair.
Within the last week, students and staff at Springer Residential College have dealt with four reported cases of lice, a sexual assault was reported at Regents Residential College and a theft of more than $500 was reported at Hart Residential College.
If the University is going to prioritize living on campus to the point of making it mandatory, then the residential colleges should be the cleanest and safest places on campus.
The Residential College Review Task Force is meeting throughout the semester to make a list of recommendations on how to improve the system for the next academic year.
It is a positive that the task force is putting thought into improving extracurriculars and retention, but the safety, functionality and sanitary conditions of the colleges should also be taken into account.
This is especially important because off-campus living is more competitive and less costly than living in the residential colleges. The average cost of a double room in Franklin, Springer, Old Richmond, Hart, Regents, White, Elizabeth and Hester residential colleges is $2,288 per semester.
At apartment complexes geared toward students, like Campus Evolution Villages South, rent for a three bedroom apartment can run as low as $1,800 a semester per roommate.
Murray State should consider what students are paying more than $500 a semester for. Are they paying for the community that is advertised? Or are they paying more to live with strict curfews, power outages, Wi-Fi outages, insects and crime?
The residential college system is something that many of us feel lucky to have. Some of us who lived on campus before living off campus were glad to experience the residential colleges. They are a place to make valuable friendships. However, if Murray State is going to make on-campus living the only option, then it should make it worthwhile.
Clean up the lice, get rid of the crime and make the colleges a place that students actually want to live.