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DEVELOPING: UNM considering making on-campus living mandatory for future freshmen

Terry Babbitt of the Division of Enrollment Management formally recommended to the Board of Regents on Thursday that they consider making living on campus mandatory for future first-time freshmen. 

Babbitt said he and his team have been studying the potential pros and cons of such a mandate by the University, including the impact on enrollment as well as student safety. 

Several key stats played into the recommendation, including higher retention and graduation rates for those that live on campus when compared to those who don't, at least for their first year in school. 

Several exceptions would be included in the mandate. For example, freshmen can still live with a parent or guardian provided they are within 30 miles of main campus; they will be at least 20 years old at the start of term; or they have a medical or accessibility hindrance that would prevent them from leaving their home to live on campus, among other exceptions.

While the recommendation by Babbitt was made as part of an information item on the meeting's agenda - meaning it was not something that could be voted on immediately - it is possible the regents will make a decision on the matter at some point during the upcoming school year. 

Student Regent Ryan Berryman noted that more freshman living on campus would make sense, given the University's upcoming projects to "revitalize" campus, including modernizations to Smith Plaza and the Anderson School of Management, and the anticipated Johnson Gym renovations. 

Student government leaders - graduate and undergraduate alike - will be talking to students this year about such policy change and gathering opinions. Their feedback is expected to be presented to the Board of Regents at a future meeting.  

This is a developing story. Check back with the Daily Lobo for more. 

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