Residence hall rules need reconsideration

Thump, thump, thump! That’s the sound of the RAs’ footsteps softly hitting the floor down the hall. That’s a reason to be watchful
and a reason to be alert. They come at 9:45 p.m., then again at 10:15, then at 10:45, and make one last loop before midnight. We hear
them conducting rounds and smile because a closed door and a hushed room is all it takes to remain invisible. The appearance of
control is ever so subtle.
In many cases enforcement on many rules is so lax anyway. Take the guest policy in the dorms: opposite gender parties can
remain in your room until 2 a.m. on weekend, at which point people simply curl in bed. RAs’ aren’t going around with a bat looking for
Students in the suburbs have it better; gifted with an overnight guest policy because it was impossible to stop people from coming
over late. They had to change the rule because it ruined Residence Life’s credibility when every Suburb RA actively ignored the rules.
Honestly, if I had a nickel for every rule RA’s ignored … well, I’d stop taking out loans.
And why do they ignore the rules? Let’s look at the average student: Most students have spent the majority of their lives under the
rule of their parents. Yes, they love and they care for us, but they also impose a strict way of living. Now those chains are gone, and a
new, independent life is being lived. Nobody wants to again be stuck following rules they don’t agree with, rules designed before they
were born.
The college experience is geared toward changing the student into a better, stronger person. Our world changes too, so the lessons
we learn at college must be continually evolving. The rules in place hold firm the myth that college students are the same as they’ve
always been. In reality, students have adapted beyond the relevancy of the rules.
These archaic ideas prohibiting gender interactions reek of a policy built on fear, not trust. We are a generation that takes critical
thinking as fact, not as a radical new line of questioning. We can make our own decisions. We should be able to welcome people into
our living spaces whenever we feel comfortable. Our decisions may lead to folly, but through failure comes adaptation and growth.
It is not radical to suggest gender – neutral housing. If I feel more comfortable rooming in an apartment with two ladies, why should I
be prohibited by rules that will prove irrelevant for the remainder of my being? I guarantee learning to live with both genders will prove
useful to all of us. This is not a foreign concept.
Now, I do think this should come down to a decision. Random gender – neutral housing is likely very uncomfortable for everyone
involved, although it’d be an invaluable learning experience. For those making their own decisions, having more options is a welcome
and would give me hope that this college is adapting to meet student needs.
We’re not children. We will go through college blindly at times, and we will make tons of mistakes. But we will learn; we will adapt.
We get asked so much of us throughout this four year transition. We’re subject to lessons taught to us and the failures we bring on
ourselves. Let us learn some more. It wouldn’t change much, truthfully.
This is an open-minded generation of critical thinkers. We can handle anything college has to throw at us. I’d like it to throw a bit

Matt Olson can be reached at

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