Student petitions to eliminate visitation hours

BY MEGAN STUDDARD, Editor-in-Chief

Visitation is again a hot topic, and one student wants to do something about it.

Junior biology major Kaitlin Norman is spearheading a petition to eliminate opposite-sex visitation hours for upperclassmen students.

She plans to present the petition to SGA before the semester’s end.

Currently, all residential students are subject to visitation hours in the dorms.

According to the 2013-2014 Housing Contract, “students may entertain guests of the opposite sex in their rooms and suites from 10 a.m. – 2 a.m. everyday,” and “the college reserves the right to alter visitation for any residence hall, section of residence hall or individual in the interest of health, safety, security, discipline, improvement of the educational environment, or the general welfare of the students.”

The contract also states that all dorm visitors are required to sign in at the dorm’s front desk and leave a picture ID.

In 2013, through the efforts of SGA, the administration extended visitation hours from midnight to 2 a.m.

This academic year, desk workers were also removed from New Bedford and Plymouth dorms, but visitors are still required to sign in.

“I hear everyone talking about [visitation], and I wanted to do something about it,” Norman said. “[Piedmont] forces us to live on campus…if we’re athletes. They take our scholarships away [if we live off campus]. If we were allowed to have our own apartments, we could have unlimited visitation.”

Norman’s petition proposes eliminating visitation hours for sophomores, juniors and seniors. “[The petition is] including sophomores,” Norman said.

She said, for her petition, the only dorms that would have visitation hours would be GB and Purcell, since “freshmen have roommates.”

Norman said she started thinking about visitation at Piedmont this past October but just started the petition process. So far, she said she has collected 88 signatures.

Norman said she wrote the petition after talking with Emily Pettit, dean of student affairs, who prompted her to write the petition and include only upperclassmen in the visitation elimination.

“The administration told me [to write a petition to show] it wasn’t just me trying to get [visitation] changed,” she said.

The petition reads: “We, the undersigned, ask the administration to heavily consider vetoing the visitation rule for upperclassmen. This can be achieved by making upperclassmen dorms such as Mayflower, Ipswitch, Wallace, New Bedford and Plymouth free of the current 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. curfew. By doing so, the administration will be acknowledging our growth and maturity as students and adults. Furthermore, students should have the right to visit one another anytime during the night regardless of gender, relation to one another or sexual orientation. We have committed ourselves to bettering Piedmont College through academics, athletics, and clubs, and all we ask in return is to be treated like the adults we are.”

Norman added that unlimited visitation would provide equality for all students.

“I’m just trying to eliminate any kind of discrimination,” Norman said.

Norman is a member of SGA, and said, “I need help from SGA. I need back up.”

She urges students who agree with eliminating visitation hours to join her.

“I’m normally in the caf during lunch, so if anyone wants to come by and sign [the petition] they can,” she said. “I hope to get this changed by next semester.”

SGA President Sam Thomas was on a debate trip when the petition was drafted, and said he didn’t know much about it when contacted via electronic message on April 13.

“SGA has never had a student petition, at least not while I was in office.” Thomas wrote. “We know visitation is the big issue on the minds of students, and we’ve discussed our options earlier in the year and felt the timing was bad. I have an idea of how I want to handle the issue going forward, and hopefully I’ll have a better answer in a day or two.”