I think most every student at California Lutheran University is aware of this year’s common complaints. The campus has been rumbling since we discovered the new meals situation in September.
Last semester many took the Associated Students of California Lutheran University Government Student Voice Survey and spoke up.
“Over nine hundred people actually wrote comments. That’s not people who took the survey, but ones who actually wrote comments,” said senior senator Natasha Boychenko.
After the meal plan and parking issues, students were most interested in or frustrated by the residence hall visitation hours, the so-called 2 a.m. rule.
It’s been the university’s policy for at least a decade that residents cannot have members of the opposite sex in their room past 2 a.m.
In the comments section of the Student Voice Survey, phrases like “we are all adults” appeared more than a few times, and some students appealed to their status as college students, not high schoolers.
“We felt that this was the time,” Boychenko said. “You know, it’s literally responding directly to a majority student voice.”
Boychenko took action. She introduced a resolution to the senate urging the university to consider relaxing the rule. The resolution passed at the Feb. 9 ASCLUG Senate meeting and is on its way to being presented before the Board of Regents.
Why the push to abolish the rule? To commuters like me, who hadn’t given it much thought, it might not make sense.
On the surface it looks like a push to depenalize boyfriend/girlfriend sleepovers. After all, I thought we are California Lutheran University. It seemed to me like the rule was in place because premarital sex is a big Christian no-no.
But, no, if this university was ever concerned about students’ sexual purity, it gave up on it long before we arrived.
“I know a lot of times people think it’s a ‘no sex’ policy, which is kind of funny to me, to be honest,” said Chris Paul, associate director for Student Life.
“You can obviously have sex any time of the day, not just between 2 and 7 a.m.,” Paul said. “And we give out safer sex materials and that sort of thing.”
I may represent a minority opinion here, but knowing that Cal Lutheran is disinterested in sexual purity saddened me. My college search included schools that required chapel attendance and adherence to strict conduct standards.
I remember even being surprised that visitation hours ended so late as 2 a.m. Why would you want someone of the opposite sex in your dorm after then anyway?
Well, here’s where I’ll agree with most of the student body: in a nutshell, it’s inconvenient.
Sophomore resident Vivian Gibson has experienced just how inconvenient the rule can make time spent with friends of the opposite sex. She recalled a male friend driving her back to campus because of severe pain she had from an ear infection.
“He left his car at the theatre to drive me home because I could not drive myself,” Gibson said. “He ended up having to sleep in my car because it was after 2 a.m. when we got home.”
Boychenko mentioned several other situations which make the 2 a.m. rule inconvenient and unfair for example, having a sibling visit campus.
“You could have a sibling come over if it’s of the same gender,” Boychenko said. “To look at the school, you know, but if it’s of the opposite gender, you’re sending your sister or your brother in a stranger’s room.”
And questions of fairness arise over the fact that mixed-gender groups are more seriously disciplined than same-gender groups for making the same amount of noise past 2 a.m.
And it gets confusing when you consider that the rule floats right over same-sex couples.
These reasons persuade me to believe, despite my convictions, that the 2 a.m. rule is not all that necessary. The reason it’s in place, according to Paul, is for “roommate respect,” meaning it makes it easier for uncomfortable roommates to kick out their roommate’s mate.
Gibson said the rule may still be useful for freshmen, who could be reluctant to engage in roommate conflict so soon.
“You’ve just come to college, you’re wanting to make new friends, you want to be best friends with your roommate,” Gibson said. “You may not necessarily want to tell the other person, ‘Hey, I don’t feel comfortable with this.”
As for older residents, no enforcement would probably foster growth. As one student survey response put it, “there are not going to be RAs in real life.”
So, Cal Lutheran students, rejoice that your voice is being heard. But I still can’t shake the sad feeling that this is another milestone toward California Secular University.
Published February 18th, 2015