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Inquiring Minds: Rules are easier to follow when students know them

The recent developments concerning poker bring to light a serious issue concerning rule enforcement at Eastern: no one knows what the rules are.

Obviously, this isn’t true for all rules. Rules for visitation hours are very clear, and so are the rules about propping hall doors open, sleeping in the lounges and smoking on campus.

However, many of the rules are not clear and are therefore enforced arbitrarily. For example, the student handbook says about the guidelines for visitation: “the light must be on, the door must be open, and unobstructed visual access to the room shall be maintained.”

What does this mean? In some dorms, it means simply that the door needs to be cracked open and a desk light must be on. In others, the door must be fully open, and the main light must be on. Different floor plans don’t fully account for these differences.

Poker is another example. In Gough and Doane, poker playing is essentially not allowed. In NCH, poker playing, even for money, is allowed.

This arbitrary application of the rules is a problem. It’s a problem because it leads to confusion among students, who change dorms from year to year and may unwittingly break rules.

It is also a problem because it makes the rules seem unfair. When a student’s best friend can play a hand of poker, she may be frustrated when she gets called into her RD’s office for the same activity.

No matter how well-meaning the RD may be, being called into his or her office feels like reproval. If this reproval is going to be meted out, it should be meted out to everybody equally, not to students just because they’re in a certain dorm.

The rules shouldn’t change depending on where students live. The administration should either make the rules consistent or reconsider having the rules at all.

Inquiring Minds is the collective opinion of the editorial staff and not necessarily representative of the entire staff. It is written by the managing editor and the editor-in-chief

To avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, the news editor and managing editor wrote this issue’s Inquiring Minds.

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