Students question co-habitation rules on campus

Auriel Brown

No longer living under their parents’ supervision, some students in residence housing are taking advantage of the opportunity to define their sexual lifestyle.

However, certain lifestyle choices are against the rules of housing, said Deb Gipson, director of housing.

The increasing rate of sexually transmitted diseases on campus raises the question of whether students have been taking advantage of the visitation privileges in the residence halls.

Co-habitation is forbidden on campus, but some students in the suites and apartments are using their 24-hour visitation privilege for more than temporary company.

It may be the definition of “24 hour visitation” that has some students extending their hospitality to their partners.

Co-habitating is defined by the department of student housing as not only having someone of the opposite sex spend the night, but also engaging in sexual intercourse in the residence halls. Gipson said the students need to understand that they are only allowed 24 hour come and go visitation in the suites and apartments.

“People are allowed to come and go anytime during the day, but can’t spend the night,” she said.

In most cases of co-habitation, Gipson said it usually involves a non-student, which makes the situation easier to deal with. She said student housing has dealt with close to 10 cases this academic year.

“We treat it as a disciplinary case,” Gipson said.

Gipson said for someone getting caught for the first time, they are usually just written up.

Many students do not understand why there are rules as to how they live and with whom they live.

Chaunté Thomas, sophomore psychology major, said while people are going to spend the night and people are going to have sex in the rooms, she believes the no co-habitation rule is for the students own benefit.

“I think it’s a good rule to have because if we get pregnant or anything, we’re likely to drop out of school and never come back,” Thomas said.

She said in the past she roomed with a female that did co-habitate with her boyfriend and constantly did “naughty things.”

“He stayed here every night,” Thomas said. “He brought alcohol in our room, and we could’ve got in a lot of trouble.”

One of the big problems with co-habitating, she said, is some staff assistants look the other way because they also co-habitate and telling on a roommate could cause problems in the apartments.

Other students do not understand why there are rules as to with whom they are allowed to reside.

“The two rules kind of contradict themselves,” said Mike Hines, junior psychology major. “If they can come anytime, why can’t they spend the night?”

Gipson said it is a difficult, but fine line with having visitors in the rooms, and it is ultimately out of respect and safety for the other roommates.

“It’s very frustrating for a roommate,” Gipson said. “The rooms are small enough as it is.”

She said the toughest part of enforcing the co-habitation rule is dealing with same-sex couples on campus. Gipson said she has had one case to deal with, and both girls were very cooperative.

“It’s a difficult situation,” Gipson said. “As far as seeking that out, we have so much to deal with, with what we come across.”

She said they deal with what is brought to their attention such as extra suitcases and other things that were not in the rooms before.

In one of the worst-case scenarios, Gipson said she has dealt with occurred years ago when a girl decided to allow her ex-boyfriend to stay in the apartments with her and her roommates.

“To add insult to injury,” Gipson said. “One day all but one of the roommates left to go eat with the ex-boyfriend still in the room. She didn’t know he was there, and he didn’t know she was there. At a point they saw each other, and within minutes of that sight, she was being brutally raped.”

For that reason, Gipson said she thinks it is unfair when a student takes the rights of others into their hands and invites another person to live with them.

Students like Ted Mason, junior mass communications major, still stand on why they should be allowed to do as they choose in the residence halls.

“I feel like I should be able to [co-habitate] any day of the week because I do pay for my living arrangements, and there are already enough rules that need to be followed,” he said.