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Campus Life

Guest Policy Changes Proposed

Dean of Students outlines plans at Student Union meeting

A proposal for a new BU guest policy, offering campus residents greater access to University residence halls and simplifying the procedure for having overnight guests, was put before the Student Union last night by Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore. If approved by the University Council, comprising faculty and staff, the changes, which offer more freedom but place greater emphasis on student responsibility and communication between roommates, would take effect in September 2007.

Under the proposed new guidelines, students currently living in a campus residence can use their BU ID to swipe into any other residence hall between the hours of 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. The three-day overnight guest passes will be eliminated in all but the largest residence halls, and students will be able to sign in guests with photo identification at any time, day or night.

In a meeting with his staff on Wednesday, Elmore said that the proposal had been developed throughout months of meetings with students and administrators. The faculty council also played a key role in developing and revising the plan, which is intended to give students both greater freedom over their experience in the residence halls and greater responsibility for the conduct of their guests.

“This is about responsibility, communication, and maturity,” said Elmore. “We are clearly saying, ‘We trust you not to compromise other people’s safety.’”

The current guest policy does not allow campus residents swipe access to other residence halls past 8 p.m. and requires students to apply to their residence hall director 24 hours in advance for a three-day guest pass. The current policy also mandates that students wanting to host a guest of the opposite sex find a co-host of the opposite sex to sign the visitor in.

The proposed new policy states that students in large residence halls — 575, 1019, Danielsen, Myles Standish, Shelton, the Towers, Warren Towers, and West Campus — must get written consent from their roommates to procure a three-day overnight guest pass, but that consent can be given up until 2 a.m. A resident can still sign in an overnight guest after 2 a.m., but the resident’s BU ID will be scanned and the guest must leave a photo ID at the building’s residential safety desk. The guest will not be issued a multiple-day pass.

Students at 10 Buick Street must get verbal consent from their roommates for overnight guests and must meet their guests in the lobby, where the guests are required to leave a photo ID, and escort them into the building. Guests are permitted at any time, as long as they are with a resident of the building.

Students living in the Bay State Road brownstones and South Campus residences must get verbal consent from their roommates for overnight guests, meet their guests in the lobby, and escort them into the building.

The rules about hosting students of the opposite sex will no longer be in effect.

Elmore said that in determining the new policy, he and the members of the University Council Committee on Student Life Policies considered campus safety and the policies at other institutions. By requiring students in large residences and at 10 Buick Street to swipe their BU ID cards and have their guests leave photo IDs, the University will know who is in the buildings at all times.

“The success of the policy really depends on students more than on Residence Life or Housing or the BU Police Department,” said David Zamojski, director of the Office of Residence Life.

The policy also relies heavily on communication between roommates, and Residence Life staff members are discussing creating new resources to help resolve disputes. “A lot of this is going to be self-regulating,” said Jack Weldon, associate dean of students. “The roommate has the right to say, ‘I don’t want this,’ at any time, 2 p.m. or 2 a.m.”

The proposed new guest policy is now available for review online at the Dean of Students’ Web site, where visitors can submit questions and comments about the new procedures. The University Council will vote on whether to implement the policy on April 18, and if voted in, the revised policy will be sent to University President Robert Brown for approval.

Jessica Ullian can be reached at jullian@bu.edu.