Access Control: Causing Isolation Amongst Jaspers

by Lauren Schuster, Social Media Editor

When I came to Manhattan College a little over 3 years ago, I was extremely excited to find my new home and make many new friends. I found Manhattan to be an open and welcoming place with a real sense of community, a fact that has remained one of my favorite parts of being here to this day. As Jaspers, operating as one big family is an important part of what we do. We open doors for each other, both literally and figuratively.

However, there is a new policy beginning to take place that directly threatens this sense of community. The new access control policy being introduced by residence life and public safety this semester essentially does the exact opposite of treating us as one big family. This new policy only allows residents access to the building that they live in, unless they are signed in as a “visitor” by a friend who lives in the building they wish to enter.

Additionally, a resident may only sign two visitors into their residence hall at a time. The previous policy of no visitors of the opposite sex being allowed after midnight is still in effect. Additionally, any visitor of the same sex who is present after midnight is now considered an “overnight guest,” which are only allowed twice a month. Anytime a visitor overstays their welcome, increasing fines will be issued.

I strongly believe that whether you live in a particular residence hall or not, Manhattan College should still be able to feel like home. With this new policy, our fellow MC students are quite literally being made to feel like guests in their own home. Some might say that this is all in the name of safety, and any inconvenience is worth it if we can all sleep more soundly. However, this updated policy only puts new limits on the access of other Jaspers to our residence halls.

If we truly need to be kept safe from our fellow Jaspers, then we’re not the family I thought we were, in which case there’s a much bigger problem at hand that access control alone simply cannot fix. If it’s not safe for my classmate to freely walk the halls of my dorm building, then it is also not safe for me to sit near them anywhere else on this campus, in which case they should not be allowed to attend this school at all.

Another statement in defense of the policy is that all of this is common practice at other colleges across the country. However, that only brings me back to our constant claims of what makes Manhattan so special. Aren’t we supposed to know each other better and care about each other more than students at other schools? Aren’t we supposed to be more of a community, and an inclusive one at that? If we aren’t those things, then we have clearly strayed from our core identity, and don’t deserve the name Jaspers any longer.

I firmly believe we have not done anything of the sort, and are in no way major security threats to one another, despite what this new policy makes us out to be. It is clear that this new policy in no way increases safety, and instead forces a great deal of isolation amongst students.

A well-rounded social life is an extremely important part of being a healthy college student. Being barred from entering the living spaces of your best friends or significant others because it is either too late at night or because they already have 2 other friends visiting is a stressful situation that none of us deserve to go through. Commitments like classes and jobs are already large sources of stress in our lives, and the last thing that we need is social segregation and isolation added into the mix.

Social interactions across dorm buildings should be encouraged, not limited. Any involved student on this campus will tell you that their circle of friends transcends major, year, or residence hall. If you really want your students to be safe and healthy, you should give them the opportunity to do what Jaspers do best: welcome each other.

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