For the past year, there has been a major push to repeal the current visitation policies pertaining to the residence halls on campus.
Ben Jacobs, Vice President of Student Senate, has been advocating for the change and is the writer of the bill.
“The visitation policy is the guest and escort policy, so different genders will be able to spend the night in somebody’s dorm room on campus. This is a win for the LGBTQ community on campus because it doesn’t recognize same sex relationships that way. It gets rid of gendered language,” Jacobs said.
Ultimately, the policy corrects the old procedure that took place because it allows a person of different gender to be able to spend the night.
The COVID-19 restrictions inevitably affected the new policy because it delayed the response. Additionally, there have been new dorm restrictions put in place this year for it.
“As the university leadership considers this policy revision, regardless of the outcome, it is an excellent example of cooperation, coordination, and compromise with the goal of enhancing the campus community and student experiences,” said Associate Dean of Students Ryan Blevins.
In addition to this, guests can stay five consecutive times in a month, though off campus guests staying overnight will have to fill out a form with residential life at least 24 hours in advance. This allows the campus to have a record of who is staying in each of the rooms on campus. This new policy will apply to all campus dorms, including freshman halls.
So far, the newly proposed policy has been very popular and well-liked by students on campus.
“80% of respondents in our survey believed that this policy should be changed and it speaks for itself. I have been working on this policy for the past year and three months and have gotten much feedback from students and staff,” Jacobs said.
Blevins believes that this policy change reflects positively on how the university governance can work.
“Students identified an issue and brought it to the Student Senate’s attention. The Student Senate researched the concern and developed a resolution to address the concern with recommendations for the University to consider,” Blevins said.
Although most people are on board with the new policy, the process to get it approved is lengthy.
“Student senate has been working on this policy since August of last year, a student forum for it was held in February this year, and a completely new draft of it was developed over this past summer,” Jacobs said.
“The proposed changes to the visitation, guest and escort policy are set to be reviewed and discussed at a future President’s council meeting. If approved, the revised policy would not take effect until the current residential COVID-19 restrictions and precautions are no longer active” expressed Blevins.
Despite this, the decision will be made in the next month or so. The board of directors is moving this policy forward to the president's counsel, and it will be decided on by the end of the semester.