Opinion: Dorm visitation policy outdated

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Editors Note: The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Tropolitan or its staff members. Address responses and critiques to opinion@tropnews.com

Richard Fast

Contributor

I am a 27-year-old graduate student living in Rushing Hall (formerly New Residence Hall) and was recently elected Graduate Senator to the Student Government Association (SGA). As a non-traditional age student, I face certain challenges and frustrations that other students might not, but I would like to give voice to shared difficulties. I have several issues with Troy University Housing policies, and I’d like to use this space to address the Residence Hall visitation policies specifically. 

Currently, the visitation policy for RushingHall and all other residence halls is this: All guests, male and female, are only allowed in the building under the supervision of the resident they are visiting (understandable) and only between the hours of noon and midnight. Residents may only have an overnight guest if they are 1) of the same sex (but not gender? unclear), 2) the floor R.A. is notified 24 hours in advance (sigh), and 3) the correct paperwork is filed (ugh). That’s a lot of hoops to jump through. It is not always possible to give 24 hours advance notice when a friend needs to spend the night. Besides, kicking someone out of the dorm at midnight can needlessly put people at risk, particularly young women who do not live in Troy. 

I did my undergraduate degree at Loyola University, New Orleans, where I lived on campus my entire time in college. I believe Loyola had a much better and realistic policy which was you and your guest, regardless of sex/gender, give your school ID and guest’s driver’s license or state ID card to the person at the front desk, and the guest was allowed to stay for 24 hours. That worked very well. In the three years I was at Loyola, neither I nor anyone I knew ever had a problem with that policy. No advance notice, no sex/gender restriction, just ID and 24 hours stay limit. 

However, there are more concerns regarding Troy’s visitation policies. As it stands now, the university’s overnight guest policies can be seen to favor homosexual couples over heterosexual couples. I realize that probably was not the intent of the administration when these policies were put into effect, but there is no denying that they are discriminatory. For this reason alone, the same-sex condition must be dropped. 

OK, so I’ve identified some problems. What should the policy be instead? I have two requests for Dean Herbert Reeves, the head of housing at Troy University, and the board. The first is to get rid of the same-sex condition for overnight guests. It is discrimination, and it needs to go. The second is to lift the midnight guest exit policy and replace it with something more reasonable, such as 10 a.m. the following day. Even if it were only for weekends, that would be a massive improvement to the status-quo. 

An administrator for Mr. Reeves told me that were these changes implemented, they would likely only be for residents in single rooms due to privacy concerns for the residents with roommates. I completely understand those concerns. I would be satisfied if the changes I propose only affected those living in single occupancy rooms, as a step forward and then work to find agreeable terms for those living in multiple occupancy rooms. 

The point is to move the ball forward and get Troy to start living in the 21st century. The status quo is archaic. 

I have spoken to other Troy students living on campus, and they told me they share the same concerns and agree that the amended policies I’ve just described would be a step up. It is my mission as SGA Senator to see these policies changed. Please reach out to me at rfast@troy.edu if you are in support. 

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