Protection or punishment? New Krueger and Muehlmeier policies cause uproar

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Protection or punishment? New Krueger and Muehlmeier policies cause uproar

Maui Viola, Staff Reporter

A meeting was held in the Krueger and Muehlmeier halls Nov. 29 regarding policy updates on visitation and safety for the respective halls. The policy was enacted the same day and is a short-term solution that will lead into spring of 2019.

The policy limits non-assigned residents’ visitation to Krueger and Muehlmeier at any time. Assigned residents are limited to enter and exit only the south door in Krueger and the north door for Muehlmeier during the hours of 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Entry from undesignated doors results in admittance into the conduct violation process. Visitors found in the respective residence halls are also referred to the process. The policy also limits non-family members from visitation.

Though the policy changes were placed in effect on Nov. 29, they were disclosed in a mass email by communications director David Gallianetti on Dec. 3. In the email, safety and security of students are listed as reasons for the changes. Problems from student overnight visitation and opposite gender usage of restrooms are concerns also listed.

Krueger Resident Assistant Kayla Potter discussed the issues. “It really comes down to a safety standpoint,” she said. “There’s been a lot of issues that security has noticed this past semester pertaining to residence safety; a lot of residents have said they have been feeling uncomfortable.” On the new policy, Potter adds, “There has been a negative response to it from a lot of the residents. People have been very upset with the new change.”

Exercise science major Ho’ala Chock expressed his opposition to the policy changes for his residence building, Muehlmeier Hall. “I think it’s doing its job, but it’s kind of unfair because I don’t get why good students have to be punished for other’s actions that don’t necessarily involve them,” he said.

Although some students criticize the new operation procedures, others favor the changes. Freshman criminal justice major Alison Todd said the new policy is “good so that things don’t happen to other girls.”

“I just think it’s safer because I have had issues in the past, with guys, and I feel like it’s safer not just for me, but for everyone else. I don’t want my friends to get hurt,” Todd explained.

Director of Campus Safety and Security David Simon, also known as Big Moe, noted that the changes are actually “due to non-compliance and constant violations of the off-campus guest registry, male students using the women’s bathrooms in Krueger Hall and women using the men’s bathroom in Muehlmeier Hall–as well as students residing in halls that they were not registered to live in.” He noted these as campus policy violations.

Simon acts as Lakeland’s Title IX coordinator. He commented on the idea that Title IX violations caused the policy changes. “We have received reports of sexual misconduct policy violations from both residential halls,” he said. “I would not say its been the highest, but for me, one report of sexual misconduct is one too many.” Simon stated that this was not the determining factor, but was taken into consideration.

These concerns reflect the thoughts of Interim Assistant Director of Residence Life and Krueger Hall Director Melanie Perez who recognized early on that “There was some gaps in our policy at Lakeland considering visitation.” After noting the lack of policies regarding this topic Perez has worked closely with Michaela Smith, interim director of residence life, to plan out a new policy.

The current situation pushed Smith and Perez to “hold an emergency meeting for some really detrimental things that have been happening on campus considering sexual assaults and different incidents of that nature.” The new policy is temporary and serves as a placeholder as Residence Life’s plan for a better way of tackling the problem.

Smith and Perez hold students to high standards and believe they are and should be treated as adults.“I don’t want to underestimate people,” Smith said. “They are adults, and I want to see them act like that. And I do feel like they have that potential. If we give that expectation to students and say that Lakeland students are held to these standards, then they have no choice but to comply with those standards.”

“It is very normal in all schools across America to have some type of visitation policy or check in point with security personnel of some sort,” Perez said. “It brings us up to the standard of other institutions for the sake of safety and responsibility.”

Smith added on to Perez’s real life situation comparison, “These are problems that are happening at Lakeland are happening across the world, not just here,” she said. “They’re worldwide, and I think especially in universities because a university is supposed to be the hot bed of knowledge and new ideas and learning about yourself and learning about the world.”

Ideas, feedback and concerns are encouraged by Michaela Smith and Residence Life for future operations. Students are able to contact Smith via her email, [email protected]

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