YEAR IN REVIEW #18: Overnight guest policy changes, prompts resolution from SGA


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Central Michigan Life | File Photo

Freshman girls enjoy each other's company in a residence hall on campus. Gender-neutral housing is an option that allows transgender and gender nonconforming students to live together regardless of their sex, and is intended to provide students a safe living environment. 

Residence Life implemented significant changes to the overnight guest policy which provoked a resolution from the Student Government Association.

The change in guest policy started with a ban on overnight guests, including other Central Michigan University students, during Welcome Week.

The new protocol required a form to be submitted by students who wanted to host guests once weekday overnight guests were allowed after Aug. 26. The policy requires students to submit a request form that must be signed by all roommates in the room, the resident assistant and the residence hall director 48 hours before the visit.

Under the old policy, non-student guests had to sign in at the front desk and register their vehicles with the CMU Police while other CMU students were allowed entry with a student ID.

This is the first time CMU has implemented either policy, and Joan Schmidt, associate director of Residence Life, said it stems from problems during the 2010-11 school year.

“Last year was just awful — we start so much earlier than other schools,” Schmidt said.

The ban includes those who go to CMU living in another hall or off campus.

She said the new Welcome Week policy was implemented to help students bond with new roommates, instead of old friends from home.

“This is the optimum time for students to get to know their roommates and to start a good academic year,” Schmidt said.

The purpose of the new weekday policy is to encourage students to study and focus on classes.

The weekday overnight guest policy was met with a SGA resolution in oppositon passed Nov. 21.

SGA Sen. Stephanie Jaczkowski introduced and received approval for a resolution opposing the policy.

The Clinton Township senior cited numerous reasons for SGA’s opposition, including that students are basically leasers of the university and should have the right to invite guests as they choose, that students should be allowed to decided their own guest policies in their roommate agreements and that student safety was not listed as one of the reasons for the policy change.

“Last year, a growing issue for students was having people stay in their room night after night,” said Tricia Henry, a Woldt resident assistant and Illinois junior. “The policy is supposed to make dorm rooms easier to study in.”

Sean Kolhoff, an SGA senator and Mount Pleasant junior, said he believes the policy will hurt students going through unique situations and who need the flexibility to stay on campus.

“It would have been impossible for me to make it to all my classes last year if I couldn’t sleep in my friend’s room,” Kolhoff said.

Jaczkowski said SGA’s ultimate goal is the repeal of the guest policy she considers unnecessarily restrictive.

“Now that the resolution has passed, we can start coordinating meetings or other forums with the student body in order to address the issues,” said Colleen McNeely, SGA vice president and Brighton senior.

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