By Courtney Gast
The change of the minor policy in the dorms this semester has resulted with many unhappy residents. Last year, family members under the age of 18 could come inside the dorms after obtaining a child’s pass right at the community desk. This year, the resident must go to Residence Life at least two days in advance to get pre-approved for a child’s pass. During this process, they will call the parent or guardian to verify that the child is theirs and after getting approved, the resident must go to the office to get the pass.
Residence Life explained this issue as a safety hazard. Residents started bringing people over the age of 18 into the dorms claiming that they were minors and causing a ruckus. The result was them being removed from the dorms. Incidents like this brought the new inconvenience to those who have younger siblings. Residents who return from a weekend at home most commonly have their parents and younger siblings help them carry things up, but with the new rule minors are unable to do this regardless if the parent or guardian is around. The minor is still required to have a pass which only seems redundant. The parent is checking in, they are giving the Community Desk Assistant or Resident Assistant their pass and there is no reason that it should be necessary to have a child’s pass at this point. Even then, we must take into consideration that students have taken advantage of said rules that have resulted in reinforcement of them, but there are better ways of going about this.
When a parent is checked in the CDA/RA will have the ID of the parent. There could be a card that is connected for the child that has their name, age and date of birth. When the parent or family member is exiting the building, they will come down to obtain their ID and the child’s pass. If a child is not present, then the family member will not be able to check out until the minor is also leaving. Another issue was that Residence Life has nobody to call if an accident were to happen. A solution could be to have emergency contact forms. These could be filed away in a cabinet so there would be no need to fill them out every time the child was to come up, which would be less of an inconvenience to family members in the long run. Even though this process would be unnecessary with the parent around, the on-call RA would be able to contact someone if any sort of accident would occur.
While these new safety measures are being taken to a new level, there are better ways of protecting underage visitors who are not staying overnight. Those who choose to stay the night should be required to complete the two-day process to ensure that proper documentation is filed and a lawsuit would be avoided if something were to happen. By adding a temporary child’s pass to the adult ID, Residence Life would be made aware that there is a minor in the building. Having emergency contact forms for the visitors to fill out before a minor is allowed in the dorms ensures that someone would be contacted if the child got hurt. Until the rule is modified, it will remain a complete inconvenience to those who are just temporarily visiting.