Residential Life Proposes New Possible Guest Policies to Senate

Allie Brennhofer

Campus residence guest policies are being reworked to propose limits on the guests a person can have in their living arrangements. Elliott Johnston, director of Residential Life, attended the Student Senate meeting to propose these new policies pertaining to guests in apartments and dorms.
“I want to start conversations. I want to be transparent. I want students to feel they have a voice in our policies. We’re about to be going through a lot of changes as we start rolling out a residential curriculum,” Johnston said.
The biggest issue brought up was safety. The example Johnston used was a fire in a crowded apartment. It is not safe to have as many people in apartments as there have been in past situations if a fire or other situation were to occur.
“What I’m really trying to look at is putting a cap on how many people can be in a room at once. Or do a registration for large events, things like that,” Johnston said, “It’s something like guest policy currently, where somebody can spend the night for three nights. We don’t really do anything about it unless there’s an issue, but we have it in place if we need to address it.”
Johnston mentioned that they are looking into city ordinances for the legal amount of people that can be in the dorms and apartments at one time. This number would factor into Res Life’s final decision.
“Where it really gets helpful is in the management. There can be a group of 20 people who want to watch ‘The Bachelor.’ And as long as they’re being quiet and not screaming because the wrong person got the rose, you know, we’re not going to know about that. But if it’s 20 people, and they are playing beer pong, and they’re in a suite, because that’s a lot of people in a small space … It really is for safety, for management,” Johnston said.
Possible ideas thrown out were a certain number of guests allowed in a dorm/apartment per resident, such as two guests per resident. Senators seemed to think two guests was a low number, which Johnston agreed with. The other idea was to register large events with Res Life. If things got out of hand or alcohol was involved with minors, there would still be consequences.
The next question brought up was how to penalize students who break the guest rules. Possible ideas were fines, community service, or writing essays. None seemed to solve all of the problems, but proved to be jumping points for further conversation.
When Johnston finished speaking and answering questions, President Jason Chavez moved to enter a colloquy for ten minutes to further discuss the senators’ thoughts on the policy.
“I personally know people that come to campus to hang out because it’s a safe environment, and I think this policy would deter from that,” said Senator Eric Conniff. “Also, people jump out of windows because they don’t want to get caught underage, and if you throw another policy and another rule to encourage them to not want to get caught, this may or may not help.”
This policy is still in the early stages. The earliest it would be implemented would be spring semester. However, it might wait until the new school year.
Earlier in the meeting, Duluth School Board Member at Large Alanna Oswald spoke to Senate about her role on the School Board. She also spoke of the importance of voting and knowing who you are voting for.
The Black Student Union requested $75: $25 for group bonding and $50 for fundraising. Both passed with votes of 30-0-1. This left the general fund at $2,644.33.