Visitation policy faces revisions

Jessie Hellmann

Students soon may be able to have guests over on the weekend all night without getting in trouble.

Student Government Association (SGA) Research and Development Administrative Vice President Nick Mathis and Student Housing Association (SHA) President Katie Webster are working together to change the weekend visitation policy to 24 hours.

The current visitation policy states people may stay from 6 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Mathis said every other major university in Indiana has some sort of open weekend policy except for USI.

“I saw the rule that said you’re only supposed to have guests until midnight, and everyone’s breaking it,” Mathis said. “So, why not have a policy?”

Mathis said he thinks the proposal stands a really good chance of passing, and he said he thinks Director of Housing and Residence Life Laurie Berry seems really excited about the possible change.

Mathis said if the proposal is implemented, after a year or two, SGA and SHA could push towards having open visitation on weekdays, too.

According to the SGA and SHA’s on-campus housing visitation policy proposal, the current policy is not consistent or enforced and should be updated to reflect the trend of the majority of the state’s universities.

If approved, students will be allowed to have guests over 24 hours on weekends, though some restrictions may be imposed.

Webster said one option SHA is considering is limiting visitations to five or 10 times a semester. She said roommates may have the right to approve of any overnight guests because the safety and comfort levels of residents are top priority.

Webster said she encourages students to voice their opinions on the proposed policy, whether they support it or not.

“We’ve had almost 600 responses, but there’s almost 3,000 people here so there’s a lot of people who haven’t represented what they feel,” Webster said.

Berry said the current visitation policy has been in place since she has been working for the university, about 20 years. She said she thinks there is room to talk about the visitation policy, but a students studying environment is important, too.

“One of the things we have to balance is basically making sure that the rights of the students to gather doesn’t affect their studying,” Berry said.

Under the proposed policy, cohabitation (having a guest for longer than two nights) will remain a violation of the USI housing contract.

According to the current visitation policy, residents who have visitors of the opposite sex stay the night will face a minimum fee of $550 and face a fine of $50 for violating the contract.

According to a survey administered to the student body by SGA, 52.2 percent of students strongly disagree with keeping the old policy intact, 56.3 percent of students strongly agree with a 24/7 policy and 44.4 percent of students voted to extend weekday visitation to 3 a.m. with open weekends.