Opinions

Small Step Towards Freedom or a Misstep?

      Visitation hours? Door open with women in the room? That’s ridiculous!” After explaining some of the rules we have here at Eastern I was met with shocked faces from many of my friends at home who went to large state schools. When one chooses to go to Eastern, they are of course choosing to go to a school that upholds Christian values and principles. Eastern is part of the Christian College Consortium and thus it follows its rules and guidelines. It’s no shock that the visitation rules here at Eastern clash with the increasingly sexualized and secular culture that we young adults now live in.

      Eagle Hall in the 2018 Fall semester has instituted a new pilot program where residents are given the ability to have members of the opposite sex in their room without the door being open. Visitation hours still remain and there is a zero-tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol, but this new freedom may open the door to a plethora of opportunities in the future. Students have polarizing opinions on the matter. Megan Van Emden, a sophomore residing in Eagle Hall, soundly supports the new pilot program.

      “I feel like as an adult, we have to be given the opportunity to make good choices,” Van Emden says, “I think that we should be given the chance to hold ourselves accountable for our actions.” A junior residing in Eagle Hall who wishes to remain anonymous says, “I chose Eastern because it reflected the values that I have upheld throughout my life; if we choose to abolish one rule, how many other rules will follow?” Noah Westbrook, an RA, says, “I think that the new policy may make an RA’s job more difficult but may allow for a friendlier dynamic between RA and student.”

      While there is definitely an argument for the visitation rules that Eastern currently upholds, one important rebuttal can be observed. When such restriction is placed on liberty, there comes a price. In this case that price is the virtue of temperance. Temperance can be defined as “moderation in action, thought or feeling,” by the Merriam Webster dictionary.  When one isn’t faced with sexual or alcoholic pressures, how can they learn to cope with these pressures as an adult? There are no visitation rules or hours outside of Eastern University; there will be a point in time in our lives where we will have to inevitably face sexual, alcoholic and other “adult” pressures. If college is supposed to usher us into our adult lives, shouldn’t we learn how to deal with adult issues?

      All in all, the new visitation policy’s success will be hard to gauge without the sort of empirical evidence that can only come with time. The new pilot program is a big step for Eastern University students and staff. Whether it is a step forwards or backwards remains to be seen.

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