By Lesley Larson
In December 2003, BYU announced that starting in 2007, contracted housing (formerly known as BYU approved housing) would only include properties within a two-mile radius of BYU campus. With one year left until the new boundaries are implemented, the real resistance is coming not from property owners, but from the BYU student population.
“I personally don”t see why it is really necessary,” said Tiffany Skaggs from Corona, Calif. “I just think that it limits your choices.”
The new boundaries, which will come into effect April 30, 2007, are intended to enable BYU”s Residence Life office to continue to address the needs of students and property managers, said BYU spokesperson Carri Jenkins.
“Our goal is to provide the kind of environment that our students expect, as well as to provide students and landlords with the level of service necessary,” Jenkins said. “In order to do that, we had to establish some perimeters.”
She said without such perimeters, Residence Life, which works with BYU contracted housing, would stretch itself too thin, and could not continue to provide students and landlords with the necessary assistance.
However, Skaggs and other students say they fear property managers within the area will take advantage of the boundary establishment and raise rent.
Jenkins said the new boundaries will not actually affect a large population of BYU students. The boundaries themselves were derived from a map of where BYU students already live. Residence Life simply recognized the natural boundaries of where the majority of the students live and adopted them as new two-mile radius boundaries, she said. In fact, at the time of the decision, 98 percent of BYU students were already living within that space, Jenkins said.
When the new boundary announcement was made in 2003, 40 contracted properties fell outside the newly established boundaries and would not maintain BYU contracted housing status in April 2007. Of those properties, 36 were basement apartments or duplexes. The remaining four were considered larger properties, including Parkway Crossing, College Terrace Apartments and Lake Ridge Condominiums, all of which will not maintain BYU contracted housing status in April 2007, Jenkins said.
All the properties that fell outside of the radius were given nearly three-and-a-half years to prepare for the change which will take place at the end of Winter Semester 2007.
Jaclyn Kerekes, assistant manager of Parkway Crossing, said while the complex will maintain the same standards and a similar contract, they have been informing potential tenants of the change in BYU contracted status. She said the complex is prepared for the change, and they don”t expect occupancy to be much lower.
Likewise, Amberly Draper, assistant office manager of College Terrace Apartments, said they are also prepared for the transition and don”t expect much of a change in occupancy. Draper said the only change in 2007 will be the lack of a BYU contracted housing label, with no change in the clean environment and good standards the complex has a reputation for.
The new radius will be a disadvantage for those students who prefer to live farther from campus.
Sean McCollum, from San Diego, began his college career living just west of campus, but he has slowly moved farther away, he said.
“I like the feeling of being farther away from campus,” McCollum said. “So when you are done with school for the day, you don”t feel like you are still at school.”
While some students are hesitant to accept the new boundaries, others see the benefits.
Camille Jex, from Glendora, Calif., said the guidelines might have a positive effect on compliance to the Honor Code.
“If all the BYU students are living within a two-mile radius, we might have more of an influence on each other to follow the Honor Code, and maybe to more willingly follow it,” she said.
Likewise, Alex Barnum, Mesquite, Nev., said at least one good thing about the new boundaries is it may actually save students money.
“I guess students wouldn”t have to pay as much for transportation,” he said.
Seemingly absent from the controversy is the population of property managers and landlords who likely have the most at stake. However, according to statistics compiled by BYU, the number of property managers affected by the new boundaries is relatively small.