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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    MSU housing revises policy

    The department of housing and residence life announced several policy changes Sept. 23, most of which pertained to visitation for MSU’s residence halls.The new policy requires anyone who visits a residence hall to check in with a student living in the residence hall.
    Visitors must provide the front desk of that residence hall with a photo ID and the host must sign the visitor in and out at the front desk of the building.
    Director of housing and residence life Ann Bailey said this policy is a national trend.
    “The trend is to have people check in and it all goes back to safety and security,” Bailey said.
    Before fall break, students living in residence halls were asked to attend a meeting specific to their zone about changes from the department.
    A panel of MSU staff and students led the forum and announced some of the changes that were Wednesday.
    Students received an e-mail from the department of housing and residence life, sent Tuesday, stating that the new visitation policies would go into effect Wednesday.
    Signs have been posted on residence hall doors reminding students to check in their guests.
    Bailey said any guest must check in with the front desk, even if the guest is the same gender as the host.
    Students expressed disagreement with the policy change at the meetings, Bailey said, and this has spilled over into Facebook groups and numerous e-mails to the department of housing and residence life.
    “The overwhelming response has been negative,” Bailey said.
    Mike Green, associate director for administrative operations in housing and residence life, said that while many students are not totally supportive of the policy, they have given suggestions and input that has helped the department.
    “They’ve given us some feedback, and that’s helpful,” he said.
    Bailey said there are three primary reasons for the changes that all go back to safety and security issues.
    “The world is not the same place that it was before [Sept. 11],” she said. “[Sept. 11] has caused us to be more aware of what’s happening around us.”
    Secondly, Bailey said the Virginia Tech shooting showed a need for change, especially since it affected a residence hall and a resident adviser.
    “That steps on our toes,” she said.
    The three alleged sexual assaults on campus while residence halls were open this semester brought added concern to the housing policies, Bailey said.
    She said her department saw an increase in e-mails and phone calls from both parents and students after those incidents.
    While some students are upset about the change in policy since it is almost the midpoint of the semester, Bailey said the changes are necessary.
    “It [the need for change] had not hit home earlier for us when we opened the halls,” she said.
    Green said he thinks many students view the changes just as a way to prevent any accidents like Virginia Tech.
    “The truth remains. You can’t prevent everything,” he said.
    Green said the new policy will greatly help if there was ever a natural disaster to affect the residence halls.
    “From a disaster response standpoint, this helps us know who’s in the building,” he said.
    The old system only accounted for residents living in a specific residence hall, Green said.
    With a check-in system, a response team can know who to look for, guests as well as residents, he said.
    “If we don’t know who’s in our building, we can’t respond with any degree of accuracy,” Bailey said.
    Another change is that all doors to residence halls, except main entrances, will be locked at all times so that non-residents cannot enter through a back door.
    The main doors to all residence halls will lock at 10 p.m. and re-open at 7:30 a.m.
    Bailey said these hours were changed to be consistent with the policy of quiet hours.
    On Sept. 24, students voted on visitation hours for their residence halls.
    Bailey said visitation hours for both genders at all residence halls will remain 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. the next day.
    “There was nothing new in that vote,” she said. “All the halls overwhelming supported those hours.”
    Students who want to have guests stay overnight must register their guests with the front desk no later than 10 p.m. of that day, Green said.
    The student must fill out a sheet and have his or her roommate sign it, stating that the two have mutually agreed to host this guest.
    “Last year, we had people complain because they felt like they had two roommates,” Green said.
    Sophomore pre-nursing major Karla Cherry said she could see the reasoning behind the new policies.
    “I understand why we have them. I guess they’re kind of a necessary evil,” Cherry said.
    Sophomore elementary education major Ginny Mobley said the main problem with the check-in policy is that it is inconvenient.
    “It’s annoying that we have to check in everybody, not just guys,” she said.
    Sophomore marketing major Rebekah Davis said she thinks the check-in and overnight visitation policies will help clear up any potential conflicts between roommates over visitors.
    “It helps enforce the curfew,” Davis said.
    Students in residence halls will be receiving a sticker to place on their MSU ID card, Bailey said.
    The card will help residence hall staff to know who is actually a resident in that particular building and should prevent visitors who might be tempted not to sign in at the desk.
    Some students have complained that the stickers are unnecessary and that they do not want someone knowing where they live in case they lose their ID card, Green said.
    Bailey addressed this issue during the housing meeting by reminding students opposed to the stickers that many of them already have their residence hall addresses listed on their Facebook accounts.
    Mobley said she does not want her residence hall listed on her ID because too many people can see it. Anytime a person takes out his or her ID, someone else can see his or her personal information, Mobley said.
    “I don’t really want everyone knowing where I live,” she said.

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    MSU housing revises policy