Student Government

First-Year Guest Policy Removes Gendered Language, Grants Students More Passes

Loyola University Chicago | FlickrLoyola's first-year students will now be able to have overnight guests of any gender, SGLC announced July 10.

The Student Government at Loyola Chicago (SGLC) announced gendered language was removed from the first-year overnight guest policy, and first-years will be granted more guest passes for the upcoming year July 10.

Previously, first-year students were only allowed four overnight guest passes per month for non-Loyola students of the same gender. First-year students now have 18 overnight guest passes per semester for any non-Loyola student, regardless of gender.

SGLC announced the changes on its Facebook page. It partnered with the Residence Hall Association (RHA) to write the legislation. The Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR) drafted the policy to be approved by senior administration and the Vice President of Student Development Jane Neufeld. SGLC and RHA had differing proposals, so OSCCR came to an ultimate decision, according to Jeff Gardner, Director of OSCCR.

Neufeld didn’t return The Phoenix’s request for comment.

Gardner said OSCCR was excited and impressed by the amount of student involvement and advocacy around this topic.

Of about 1,6oo responses, 93 percent were in favor of allowing overnight guests of the opposite gender. For visitation hours with guests of the opposite gender, 75.12 percent of respondents were dissatisfied or highly dissatisfied with the policy, according to SGLC’s proposed legislation.

“[We] want to make sure that these policies also act to reflect our community and community values as a Jesuit institution, but also one that best supports our student[s] needs as well,” Gardner said. “So there’s a lot of balancing of different needs and interests across the board.”

Gardner said the guest policy helps the university prepare for a crisis or big event, such as St. Patrick’s Day.

“The guest policy allows us to know who is within buildings for safety and security perspective, and also regulates the number of people so that we’re in compliance with occupancy regulations,” Gardner said.

Many first-year students complained about the guest policy in the “other” section of a fall 2017 survey administered by SGLC regarding their initiatives at the time, according to Madelynne Drescher, a senator for SGLC. They also used data from a survey administered by RHA in spring 2018.

The proposed legislation was written in March. The Phoenix previously reported the possibility of guest policy changes following the proposals.

Visitation hours have also been slightly modified. They begin at 6 a.m. daily and end at midnight Sunday through Thursday and 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Previously, visiting hours began at 7:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Raymond Tennison, associate director for residence life, said the start times were aligned to help students remember the policy.

Drescher, a sophomore psychology major, said SGLC felt excluding non-Loyola students of the “opposite” gender didn’t align with the Non-discrimination Policy in the student Code of Conduct and the “Care for Others” portion of the Student Promise.

“We knew we had the student voice behind us,” Drescher, 19, said.

The RHA’s main request was eliminating the gender policy, but other student requests were considered, according to the group’s newly-inducted president Austin Runde.

“The changes that were made completely reflect what we heard from students,” Runde said.

In March The Phoenix reported other Jesuit institutions, such as Georgetown University and Santa Clara University, don’t  have gendered overnight guest restrictions.

Drescher, chief sponsor of SGLC’s proposed legislation, said the previous policies denied students diverse interactions and neglected to include all genders.

“We felt that having these limitations placed solely based on gender expression wasn’t allowing students to fully live up to the Student Promise,” Drescher said. “It wasn’t respecting all gender expressions equally.”  

Drescher said the current guest policies, including the application of the Non-discrimination Policy, were inconsistent between first-year students and upperclassmen.

“Looking through the code of conduct itself, I found a lot of contradictory details,” Drescher said. “These restrictions only apply to first-years living in residence halls. So all upperclassmen who are living on campus don’t have these restrictions.”

Tennison said the changes reflect the campus atmosphere and student needs.

“The guest [and] visitation policies are intended to prioritize the rights and desires of residential students — namely to achieve a safe, convenient, academically-focused, and community-oriented living environment,” Tennison said in an email to The Phoenix.

Loyola rising sophomore, Brendan Flood, said the previous guest policy was ineffective, and students were able to find loopholes. However, this made the process of allowing opposite-gender guests overnight difficult.

“We are adults now,” Flood, political science and French double major, said. “We need to be allowed to make our own decisions and have control of our lives.”

Moving forward, RHA is considering other policy changes which might include combining dining dollars and Rambler Bucks into a single fund and supplying university-provided feminine hygiene products in Loyola’s bathrooms, according to Runde.

Communication specialist at Loyola Evangeline Politis said an email will be sent the first week of classes to alert the university community of any additional policy changes.

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