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President Approves New Guest Policy

Guidelines take effect in September 2007

Students will have greater access to high-rise residence halls such as Warren Towers under the new guest policy, which takes effect in September.

 Students returning to Boston University in September will have an unprecedented level of access to residence halls across campus, thanks to a new guest policy approved by President Robert A. Brown on Thursday, May 3.

“I am very pleased that we have reached a new policy that is enthusiastically endorsed by the students and the University Council,” says Brown. “The discussions concerning the policy across campus over the last year have demonstrated a University community working to balance our students’ rights, the rights of roommates, and all of our responsibility for security in our residences.”   

The new policy, which takes effect in September 2007, replaces the 19-year-old rules that limited campus residents’ access to other residence halls and required students to apply to residence hall directors to obtain an overnight guest pass. The new policy, developed throughout months of meetings with students, administrators, and the Faculty Council, will allow students currently living in a campus residence to use their BU ID to swipe into any other residence hall between 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.

Under the new policy, students must obtain written consent from their roommates to obtain a three-day guest pass — a measure that puts increased emphasis on student responsibility and communication between roommates. Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore says that University leaders will work with the Offices of Housing and Residential Life to ensure that students, faculty, and staff are prepared to handle whatever issues arise.

“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.”

Elmore put the policy before the Student Union in February, and it was ratified by the University Council in April. Brown’s sanction was the final step in the approval process; the focus over the next four months will be its implementation in all the residence halls.

The policy establishes different guidelines for large and small residence halls. Students living in 575 Commonwealth Ave., 1019 Commonwealth Ave., 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 St. 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 new guest policy is available for review online at the Dean of Students Web site.

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