New policy plagues residents

In an effort to decrease theft and vandalism, as well as to increase safety, the office of Residence Life has issued a new guest policy this year which, according to students, has hampered life in the resident community.

This year Residence Life has amended the on-campus guest policy regarding two different issues. The first change regards entry into buildings within the Residence Village. All students, both residents and commuters, must be signed into any residence hall they wish to visit. Furthermore, all guests signed into a building, regardless of gender, are required to leave by 12 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Secondly, all resident students may only sign in one guest at a time.

“All of St. John’s efforts at ‘building community’ just seem pointless when their guest policy tries so hard to keep students from interacting with each other in the Residence Village,” junior Alisha Brizicky said.

Brizicky is not the only one that feels separated from her peers on campus.

Marc Sole, a junior resident of O’Connor Hall said: “The University has successfully made the Residence Village feel like six independent buildings rather than one whole community.”

Residence Life administration insists that they have changed the rules to prevent theft and vandalism by outsiders, as well as to provide a safer living environment for those students who live in the residence halls.

“This is a community with a large volume of infractions, and I wish this was not an issue,” Dean of Residence Life Jose Rodriguez said. “The decision to change the policy involved looking at our challenges and making sure health and safety is a priority.”

Many students on campus are skeptical of the reasons why the policy has been changed.

“I feel that what the school doesn’t realize is that what they are trying to prevent [theft and vandalism] still happens here as well as at every college campus across America,” Sole said. “What we need is a more effective way to discipline those who commit these acts so that those who don’t aren’t punished.”

A campus-wide survey conducted by The Torch of 105 resident students determined that 98.1 percent of students living on campus are upset about the new guest policy, and 99 percent of those same students would still feel safe living on campus with a policy that was less harsh.

“I don’t really think it [the new policy] is keeping us any safer than before,” resident student Laurie Halitzer said. “I could be living next door to a psycho who obviously won’t be kept out if they live in the building.”

A number of students seem to feel that the need for greater safety precautions is being overestimated and simply being used as an excuse to keep them on a shorter leash.

“I felt safe before these new policies,” junior Catherine Block said. “Now I just feel safe and frustrated.”

Resident students attempting to fight the new policies and voice their concern for more freedom are constantly hitting dead ends.

“We have discussed the issue at [Residence Hall Association] meetings and it seems to be a lost cause since they always give us the same tired excuses” Block said.

The new policies are doing more than just separating students, they are forcing them off campus all together.

When asked if the policies will effect her decision to live on campus next year, sophomore Andrea Peterson answered: “If the rules don’t change it will. I feel like I still live at home with my parents.”

Heather Baird added: “I don’t know how the policy could get any worse, but I really, really hope it doesn’t.”