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Residential life official addresses new policies

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Photo courtesy of colostate-pueblo.edu.
Photo courtesy of csupueblo.edu.

Dean of Students and Residential Life Marie Humphrey addressed a controversial new policy in the 2014-2015 resident handbook for CSU-Pueblo. The policy says that “only guests of the same sex are allowed to stay overnight in a resident’s room” under the visitors and cohabitation section in the handbook.

It has been speculated that the new visitors and cohabitation policy had already been implemented in previous years. However, past resident handbooks do not state that only guests of the same sex are only allowed to stay overnight in a resident’s room, and they do not define who is considered a guest.

Humphrey agreed that the policies were already implemented, but said they were not as specific as they are this school year. This year, they enforce what was previously intended.

“When I came on board, we were reviewing late in the semester and we had professional staff coming on and reviewing it. I do agree, the language may not be as perfect as I wanted it to be but we knew we had to do something,” Humphrey said.

According to Humphrey, as a new person on campus, it is her job to observe and implement intentional change but to also support students.

Prior to making new policies, she attended town hall meetings and also individually went out to meetings for each of the residence halls, which consist of Belmont Residence Hall, Crestone Hall, Culebra Hall and Greenhorn Hall.

Humphrey believes she made the right decision when implementing the policies. “I have several parents calling daily about issues concerning their daughters and sons. This verifies to me that I am on the right track,” she said.

“Additionally, after all of the residence hall meetings, students came to speak with me regarding issues with their roommates and suitemates regarding overnight guest of the opposite sex.”

Humphrey added that when she implemented the new policies, she was aware that problems would occur.

“As a leader, I understand that every decision that is made is not necessarily going to be popular but part of it is if you have an issue with it, come ask me and I will tell you why things are instituted,” she said.

Instead of students complaining about the policies, Humphrey wants them to be active participants and to speak their minds.

“We knew coming in that we were going to have some challenges with returning students because they’re not used to it. New students have not been here to know that difference. But you know one of the things that we did have trouble with was the language, which we will correct,” she said.

“We are in the process of doing that now. (Residence Hall Association) has submitted the draft to us and from there we’ll implement the new policies. I will be asking them as a team, RHA collectively, as to how we will best communicate that and advertise that change,” Humphrey added.

The policy that “only guests of the same sex are allowed to stay overnight in a resident’s room” under the visitors and cohabitation section in this year’s handbook, has raised many questions about discrimination of a student’s sexual orientation.

“I think that it does raise questions and I’ll be very blunt, it’s not my job to regulate any student’s morality, that’s their decision,” Humphrey said.

The change in language was due to past experiences that occurred when guests would overextend their stay and hinder a student’s ability to study, sleep or occupy his or her room.

“So it’s not really same sex, opposite sex, or anything. We want to be inclusive, not be discriminatory but part of it is the struggle of language. I think that’s where Residence Hall Association is going to support getting that language correct,” she said.

According to Humphrey, if you go back and read the language that is being used in previous handbooks, these are not new policies.

“We’ve just had issues and challenges with what the language should be,” Humphrey said.

Humphrey does not mind changing policies, but her biggest concern is being able to support students while following professional guidelines when implementing policies.

“With the support of RHA, the language for the overnight guest policy will be changed based upon what student inputs are currently here,” Humphrey said.

RHA has a representative for each of the residence halls at CSU-Pueblo, which is the Residence Hall Council. They are the voices of students, and any student can go to a member to discuss any of the concerns they have regarding the residence halls.

“We collectively as students, faculty, staff members, and administrators can be solution oriented and that is what we should be about as a university, a community,” Humphrey said.

“If you are going to change something, let’s make it intentional change. Let’s make it better not just for you, but for the people after,” she said.

 

This article is part three of a three-part series.