How administration approved 24/7 visitation


Photo by Kayla Drake

Starting in fall 2020, all upperclassmen housing will have 24/7 visitation every day.

Kayla Drake, Reporter

Next semester, all upperclassmen dorms will have 24/7 visitation, Residential Life announced Monday.

In the fall, President Porter asked students in the Residential Hall Association to submit a proposal to him, the vice president of student life and diversity Shane Williamson, and the vice president of enrollment management Terry Whittum. 

The proposal argued other schools in the Great Valley Lakes Conference had 24/7 visitation.

Williamson said Lindenwood was behind because other institutions have had 24/7 visitation “for decades.” Four years ago, Lindenwood’s visitation ended at midnight every day. In 2016, no visitation was allowed in houses for the opposite gender.

RHA president Ciara Bell and Community Advisor Akja Adu-Nsafoa co-authored the proposal and submitted it in November. Bell said she was surprised it passed so fast because, in spring 2019, former Interim President Art Johnson rejected a similar proposal for increasing visitation.

The proposal submitted to Johnson did not include enough details about implementation or safety, Bell said. To emphasize safety, the new proposal said all genders will need to check into dorms next semester.

“We wanted more visitation, but also with that, you need to have some accountability for the people that are coming in and out,” Bell said.

Bell said checking in all visitors will help Residential Life staff account for people in an emergency situation, like a fire drill. All genders will now have to scan their student ID with the front desk. All non-students will need to get approval through StarRez, regardless of gender, according to Willamson. 

Bell said students will no longer have to “go to extremes” and sneak around or prop doors open, which can be a safety issue. 

The proposal had two options: 24/7 visitation for everyone, or only for upperclassmen. Administration chose the latter. 

Bell said she sees increased visitation as an incentive, similar to when a student reaches junior status and can live in campus houses. 

“As you grow and mature, through your college career, you have access to more things,” Bell said.

This is the only RHA policy administration has approved in the last three years, according to Bell. 

An inconsistent policy

In 2018, co-ed dorms started and the LindenLodge, a former hotel a mile from campus, approved 24/7 visitation. For years, campus houses also have had easy access to 24/7 visitation. This meant the policy wasn’t equal for everyone, Bell said. 

“We wanted the same accessibility for everyone,” she said.

Bell also pointed out no facilities on campus are open past midnight, which can make studying and socializing harder. 

Sophomore Andrew Martin said 24/7 visitation will make group studying easier. 

“I study late at night, so if I need help from one of my friends I can study whenever I want and not have to worry about visiting hours,” he said.

Improving campus culture

Suggestion boxes in the dorm halls are full of two requests: 24/7 visitation and water-bottle-filling stations.

Willamson said for years Lindenwood has had a “suitcase culture,” with students packing up and going home on weekends. In response, the university increased student life events, but program participation only started growing once visitation increased. 

Williamson said she hopes 24/7 visitation will improve Lindenwood’s campus culture. She said registration for co-ed housing fills up faster than single-gender dorms. This year, Willamson said the only two co-ed dorms, Rauch and Calvert-Rogers, have had fewer student violations than when they were single-gender.

“Students have commented that they’re able to study more; they’re able to develop friendships more and they’re able to engage with others more,” Willamson said. 

With visitation solved, now students are left to debate the quality of Evan’s cafeteria food and having a wet campus. The suggestion boxes are open.