After reading your editorial on OU's housing policy, it became clear we have not done an adequate job of explaining it. The university has not changed its policy of allowing students who live within commuting distance to live at home if they desire. About 80 percent of those who have asked for an exemption from living on campus during the freshman year have received permission. Exemptions are granted for financial, religious, or health reasons. We also honor parents' best judgment about what is best for their children. In the past when exemptions were not closely monitored, we found some freshmen were claiming to live at home but were actually living in "party houses" and apartment complexes without supervision. We feel strongly about protecting the health and safety of our freshmen students during what for most students is their first year of living away from home.

We believe living in resident halls contributes to a student's growth and development. Studies have shown students who live on campus during the freshman year have a substantially higher grade point average and are 15 percent more likely to graduate. OU is one of the few public universities in the nation which has a faculty family living in every residence hall. Residence halls are alcohol-free. Each floor also adopts a faculty member as a mentor. We are proud OU was selected as one of the Top 10 universities in the nation for the quality of its freshman year experience by the National Policy Center for the Freshman Year.

Even while we believe living on campus is desirable, we will not force students to do so who live within commuting distance if parents wish them to live at home or there is a financial need for them to do so. Thank you for the opportunity to clear up any misunderstanding about our policy.

David L. Boren, president,

University of Oklahoma











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