The College will begin to roll out a new policy that limits students’ access to dorms other than their own past 10:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The College’s administration hopes that the new initiative will reduce dorm damage and the number of pulled fire alarms.
Previously, Colby has limited student access during late hours in Williams and Sturtevant, two Hillside dorms. Sturtevant has traditionally been used as a “pass-throughs” to get to the Alfond Senior Apartment Complex. Last year, Williams experienced high levels of dorm damage. These initiatives, according to Dean Terhune, proved successful in reducing damage to those dorms.
Historically, the perpetrators of dorm damage do not live in the residence to which they commit the damage. The new policy was developed through discussion between the College Affairs Committee and SGA. Student representatives from SGA and from the greater Colby community serve on all-college committees. Traditionally, these committees have operated such that a full consensus of the group is needed for policy to be enacted. According to multiple anonymous sources, many of the students serving on the committee were against the policy.
The administration argues that limiting dorm access is “exclusively a convenience issue” and that if a student should be in the dorm, it will be with someone who lives there and can let you in to the residence.
Yet, the role of the students versus the administration is not clear-cut. According to Mike Loginoff ’16 President of the Student Government Association (SGA), “This was not SGA’s plan. This came from the administration, not from us. We are currently working on pushing the time back to later hours on the weekend.”
An additional concern influencing the new Colby Card use is the presence of uninvited non-Colby students at private events on campus, which students believe have increased this year. In order to eliminate dorm damage completely, the College has seriously considered placing security cameras near exit signs in the Senior Apartments and in Williams and Sturtevant as well as placing ink packs on fire alarms to prevent unnecessary uses.
On November 4, the College Affairs Committee sent the following email to all students:
The College Affairs Committee, a group composed of faculty, staff, and majority student representation, has reached out to student leaders to gather feedback about an initiative to change card access on weekend nights in our residence halls.
In response to student and faculty/staff concerns regarding safety and vandalism, a change to residence hall card access on weekends will begin this Friday November 6 at 10:00pm. On Friday and Saturday evenings, card access will become exclusive to residents of their individual residence hall. All residence hall access will resume Sunday mornings.
This card access adjustment is in response to student concerns and with student input into the details. The college community has been impacted by increasing fire safety related vandalism, damage or destruction to signage and doors, and uninvited guest access. This academic year Colby has also experienced a dramatic increase in the number of pulled fire alarms causing significant disruption to our community.
Often, students report that these incidents are the result of students or guests who do not live in the building where the vandalism occurs.There have also been concerns voiced about propped doors and individuals who are not members of the Colby community accessing residence halls.
We are asking students to step up their vigilance of who enters their residence halls. Please do not let in unfamiliar people or unattended guests. Encourage visitors to contact the person they are visiting.
Also students should remain aware the propping open an exterior door is a significant safety threat and will be addressed as a violation of our community standards. Students should close any propped exterior doors when they are observed.
We are optimistic this step will be embraced in the spirit of affirming our values as a community and keeping each other safe.
The College Affairs Committee
In an email sent on November 10, The College Affairs Committee stated that, due to confusion regarding the origin of the new Card policy, the College will be facilitating conversations on campus to discuss the reasoning behind the new hours. While these conversations take place, Colby Cards will return to giving students access to all dorms until 1am and resident-only access between 1am and 7am.
The Echo will continue to report on this story as it develops.