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Visitation Policy

Necessity or Tradition

By Ada Castro
On February 24, 2016

Photo by Ashley Alonzo

The University’s policy for opposite sex visitation has sparked an outbreak of questions amongst students in residence halls. Here are some stories and opinions of the heads of the Residence Life Staff, as well as a different perspective from the eyes of a Resident Assistant.

Sydnee Krueger, Student Activities Coordinator and University Apartment Manager, has an important point of view about this topic:

“In my opinion, the current Ottawa University visitation policy is working efficiently. There are always going to be students that challenge our policies, and if the University was to extend visitation hours or implement open visitation there will still be students that break the policies. I believe that this is a huge reason that the policy has not been altered thus far,” Krueger said.

For months now, the Residence Life Staff has claimed that visitation should stay the same because of safety concerns. Especially when horrifying events, such as active shootings, sexual assaults and acts of violent crime keep occurring on college campuses.  

Bennett Hall’s Resident Director Jillian Stombaugh agrees with the above statement and believes, just as Krueger does, that the policy is effective.

“It is a good policy, especially in regard to school violence as an increasing issue in colleges. Even just if the problem is intruders on campus, it gives us a sense of who is in our building as well as in what times of the day. I think it is a pretty simple thing to have students sign in and sign out their guests, in case we had some sort of a crisis situation,” Stombaugh said.

Although Krueger and Stombaugh agree with the policy, as a current Resident Assistant, or RA, I believe there is room for change. I completely agree that we need a visitation policy: We must protect our students from outsiders. So, here are three key points/issues I believe should be taken into consideration.

First, the only way to have full control of who is in the building at all hours is to staff the front desk 24/7 or eliminate visitation entirely as well at coed halls. If visitors – either same or opposite sex – come in right before the RA gets to the desk or shortly after they leave, there is no way to hold them accountable.

Second, through personal experience, I learned that the policy might be more a tradition than a necessity. As I was giving an alumni tour for Homecoming, I was asked what out curfew times were, to which I responded, “We don’t have any.” Unexpectedly, I was bombarded with questions about how was it possible that there was so much irresponsibility within the halls – referring, of course, to after-hours romantic intentions.

Which brings me to the third and final point: Not every visitor of the opposite sex falls under a girlfriend/boyfriend situation and … let’s get this out there for once and all, romantic intentions happen at “decent” hours too and between individuals of the same sex for that matter. Residents are deprived of having brothers, sisters, cousins or even just friends of the same sex coming in to visit to spend the night with them.

I do agree with Stombaugh that there needs to be control in case of an emergency. But having control does not mean prohibition.

Before becoming an RA, I didn’t quite understand the reason for having a visitation policy. But now I know how heavy is the burden that relies on the shoulders of those who take care of our students. I completely agree that there should be a system, just a different one.

As an RA, I will keep enforcing the policies that my job requires me to enforce. But our students also need to understand that disagreeing with a policy does not give them the right to break it by default. It makes everything much more difficult for us to manage, and by behaving that way, nothing will get changed.

The campus needs to be safe, however, I believe in the innovation of our staff and how they can create a new policy that satisfies both safety concerns and personal matters. 

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