Guest policy makes it hard to feel welcome

Here at St. John’s, public safety is considered an essential and extremely important component of student and especially residence life.

This university is a home away from home for all the students who live in the dorms. However, some of the policies that are intended to protect students can end up being detrimental to the college experience.

The guest policy at St. John’s, while intended to keep students safe, can in many ways hinder student life. In the residence halls, students cannot sign in non-St. John’s students past 11 p.m. and they must leave by midnight, whereas one cannot sign in a St. John’s student past 2 a.m. and they must leave by 3 a.m. This can really kill that sense of independence that comes with being a college student.

By restricting students with these measures, the University may be inadvertently restricting the students’ personal growth. Perhaps a late night study session has to be cut short because 3 a.m. is getting a little too close. Maybe a fun night of playing videogames or watching movies with friends has to end because that looming time constraint gets in the way. This seems less like a guest policy and more like a curfew.

It’s understandable to strictly police who comes onto campus, but are the students that live here so dangerous and untrustworthy that they cannot police themselves?

Residence life at St. John’s is certainly a privilege and not a right, but this privilege should be adapted more to the lives of the students who earn it. People live here for different reasons, but almost everyone comes to college and to the residence halls expecting some sort of experience. That experience shouldn’t be one marked by a guest policy that actually works against the social development of students.

The college experience at St. John’s is tailored to get students involved, and utilizes everything from learning communities to student organizations and everything in between.

Instead of letting the residence halls and guest policy divide students because of its strict guidelines, maybe it’s time to let it unite people by providing a more realistic sense of independence.

These same restrictions do not apply to the new Founder’s Village Townhouses, where the guest policy runs on the honor system. So far, this has yet to cause mass chaos among these students. Public Safety still walks through to make sure things are going smoothly; the only real difference is the absence of a sign-in desk.

Why can’t this system work school-wide? With all of the security and the gate that surrounds the campus, St. John’s would still be safe. The freedom of students to grow and develop according to their own free will and wishes does not have to be sacrificed for the sake of safety. These two ideals can peacefully coexist.

Most college students are aged 18 years or older, able to legally make decisions themselves. They can go to war, they can move out, and they make the decisions that affect their lives.

Sometimes these decisions may not be the smartest. People make mistakes, have regrets, and experience failure throughout the course of their lives.

These mistakes and failures are what make people human. If the human race was kept on a shorter leash and given less freedom, the number of mistakes people make would drop dramatically.

As demonstrated powerfully in Orwellian and dystopian literature such as 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and A Clockwork Orange, removing free will removes a person’s humanity. Let students have the free will and humanity they deserve, make the honor system into a campus-wide policy.