Written by Carrie Baker. Media by Kayla Morton.
It’s a secret society of girls bonded together by fate and… the lack of housing options for underclassmen women. Yes, this super secret club is famously, or infamously, known as Burritt. While sadly, it’s not actually a secret society on campus, the women’s residence hall shares many of the same “Tree House” rules that any respectable, all girls club might; including the “No Boys Allowed” rule…sort of. While boys are allowed in Burritt, there are restrictions including visiting hours and certain protocols that must be followed when boys grace the thresholds of Burritt. This set of rules, commonly known as the Open-Dorm Policy outlines the rules regarding the opposite gender in dorms. While there are restrictions on all of the residence halls run by the college, the policies for traditional housing are the strictest. Though it’s been in place for awhile, it still appears to be a very controversial topic on campus in both the male and female residence halls.
To better understand its purpose, we talked with a resident chaplain (RC) in traditional housing to get the details on the policy. For traditional housing, the residence hall is open to the opposite gender on Wednesday from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. This is the only time that males are allowed in female’s rooms and vice versa. During this time, there are also rules that accompany the time restrictions. If a member of the opposite sex is in your room, you must have the door open, lights on and both feet on the floor, and of course, NO blanket sharing. To some, these rules may seem a little extreme, but most of the Residence Life staff would agree the policy is implemented in the best interest of the students. The RC we talked to stated that the policy, “was only created to prevent tempting situations.”
Some students see eye-to-eye with the college. Burritt resident, Grace Waterfield says, “Personally, I agree with the open dorm hours because I realize that as we get older…the hours are longer and more nights offered for open dorm hours.” Others don’t quite seem to agree. Joy Hall resident, Miguel Kronbach stated, “I understand why the open dorm hours are what they are because Greenville has an image to uphold, but I don’t agree with it. We are all adults and I feel like we should have the liberty to make a few more decisions for ourselves.”
While every policy has good intentions, there is always room for error. One of the toughest critiques of the Open-Dorm Policy is that there aren’t enough spaces where guys and girls can hang out together. The only other option for gathering in the residence halls is in the common lounge. While this area is open every day, its hours also end at 12 a.m. This makes it really hard for students to hang out or study. One of the other issues with the Open-Dorm Policy is it is strictly regulated by gender. While this is meant to keep a handle on boyfriends/girlfriends coming into the dorm, it also excludes family members of the opposite gender. While this may be a minor detail to some, it has resulted in problems that seem to go unaddressed.
The general consensus is the Open-Dorm Policy was implemented in the best interest of the students to uphold the reputation of the college and encourage students to abide by a wholesome, faith-based lifestyle. While I do agree that some sort of policy is necessary to uphold these values, it does appear certain aspects of the policy need to be altered or addressed. While every change comes with the possibility of consequence, some changes such as lengthened lounge hours, and possibly, the addition of Sunday to the open dorm hours would be nice. The strongest issue that continues to exist with the policy is the unaddressed conflict with family. While boundaries do need to be drawn, it would be nice for my dad to be able to come in with the rest of my family, rather than forcing him to stand alone outside.