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New Guest Policy Accepted by University Council

Proposal needs executive approvals for September 2007 start

Under the proposed new guest policy, students in Warren Towers would be able to obtain guest passes with their roommates’ written consent. Photo by BU Photo Services

The University Council ratified the proposed new BU guest policy yesterday, bringing one step closer to implementation a plan that would offer campus residents greater access to University residence halls and simplify the procedure for having overnight guests. The new policy will now be put before the University leadership group and President Robert A. Brown for final approval, and if approved, will take effect in September 2007.

The new policy would replace the current, much-maligned guidelines, which limit campus residents’ access to other residence halls and require students to apply to residence hall directors to obtain an overnight guest pass. The proposed new policy would offer more freedom, but also place more emphasis on student responsibility and communication between roommates.

Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore says that in the next stages of the approval process, the University’s vice presidents and deans will consider implementation procedures to ensure that students, faculty, and staff are prepared for the change.

“We will be looking at strategies for how we can help students communicate with roommates and what kind of written consent forms we’ll ask for,” says Elmore. “We’ll look at training for our resident assistants so they can be more helpful, and we’ll look at what penalties should be imposed on people who abuse the system.”

The new proposal, developed throughout months of meetings with students, administrators, and the Faculty Council, would allow students currently living in a campus residence to 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.

Elmore, who put the proposal before the Student Union in February, says that the new policy is intended to give students both greater freedom in their experience in the residence halls and greater responsibility for the conduct of their guests.

“This is about responsibility, communication, and maturity,” Elmore says. “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 residence halls other than their own 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 cohost 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.

The Student Union responded to the initial proposal for a new guest policy with enthusiasm, saying that the increased freedom is long overdue.

“The proposed changes reflect a progressive attitude toward the student body, one that respects undergraduates as adults and places the onus of responsibility on individual students,” the Student Union leaders wrote in a resolution submitted to the University Council. “Our signatures represent the thousands of students for whom we currently advocate, as well as generations of future Terriers.”

The proposed new guest policy is available for review online at the Dean of Students’ Web site, where visitors can submit questions and comments about the new procedures.

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