On Eastern’s New Pilot Visitation Policy

      If you’re even remotely involved in the Eastern community, chances are you’ve heard someone complain about visitation hours. Whether it’s the time they end, the time they begin, the inconsistency between times on different days or the fact that they exist at all, a lot of people have something they’d like to change about them.

       Because the Student Government Association (SGA) exists to listen to the concerns and ideas of the students, a lot of students come to us asking for something to be done regarding visitation. Last year, the senate began an initiative to finally make a change in this area. A student/faculty panel was held in the spring of 2016 to discuss opinions on the matter and possible problems that could arise from changing the visitation hours. This year, we continued the effort and sent out a survey to the student population asking if they supported the changes that SGA was going to propose (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 1 to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m.). There were 368 responses, and the percentages of answers were as follows: 84 percent: “Yes”; 7.9 percent: “I am impartial”; 4.1 percent: “No, I am fine with the visitation hours as they are now”; 4.1 percent: “No, I do not agree with the proposed hours.”

      Using these results, extensive research on other colleges’ visitation policies in the CCCU and information from talking to faculty members, a proposal was drafted and initially presented to Dr. Bettie Ann Brigham, who then passed it through the Student Development Committee of the Faculty to get input from faculty and administrators. It then went on to many individual faculty members, including Dr. Duffett, who affirmed these changes. Eventually, on March 20, Brigham told SGA that our proposal was passed and that it was the first one in 15 years that had been submitted. This acceptance was so much more than just a change in policy; it showed that the University truly is willing to listen to student concerns and that we as students do have the ability to make the changes we want to see.

      As long as this pilot period is deemed successful, these visitation hours will be a permanent change here at Eastern. Respecting the rules put before us is the easiest way to make sure these extended hours are here to stay. SGA realizes that not everyone is happy with the extension of hours. Regardless of what the visitation hours are, people will be unhappy, but with over 80 percent being dissatisfied with how the hours were, the proposal listened to the overwhelming desire for change while still being respectful of the minority.

      Eastern is a Christian institution, and visitation hours are in place to uphold the ideals Christ has given us in His holy Word. SGA recognizes and concurs with these ideals and held them in mind throughout the entire process. It is important to make changes for the better, and I would like to wholeheartedly encourage you to get involved with SGA or any club that fights to make a positive difference. But most importantly, I encourage you to root all of these changes in the unchanging and wholly good God. No change is beneficial if it disregards His Word.

      If anyone has any questions or would like to read SGA’s proposal, please email sga@eastern.edu. We would love to hear from you!

      Gianna d’Afflisio currently serves as  Executive Board President of SGA.

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