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Wednesday, Sep 22, 2021

Is the residence curfew necessary?

College, for most young adults, is the first step out of the home. It signifies the start of the transition between adolescence to adulthood. However, at Mercer’s freshmen dorms, certain rules exist that suggest students are not ready for adulthood. Between Mary Erin Porter, Plunkett and Roberts Hall, they all have a rule that states: (1) a student cannot be in the opposite sex’s dorm past 12:00 a.m. on weekdays (2:00 a.m. on weekends) and (2) while in the opposite sex’s dorm, the student must be escorted by a member of that dorm at all times.

While the escort rule seems reasonable— seeing as its purpose is to ensure protection of dorms from potentially harmful outsiders—this rule can be taken to the extreme.

An example from my personal experience—the opposite sex must be escorted to their designated bathroom in the hall—reflects as an insignificant circumstance to be written up for. A simple check of a Mercer ID should be enough to establish a person is not a threat. If the person does not appear to be suspicious, the need to enforce this rule is not needed. As for non-Mercer visitors, a short process of checking in with an RA or the printing of a visitor’s pass to prove their visitation should suffice.

As for the curfew rule, it is not reasonable and is not enforced in the other dorms used to accommodate upperclassmen. Shorter, Sherwood and Mercer Halls do not have this rule and even further, are co-ed. Since this year’s freshmen class is the largest class Mercer University has ever taken under its wing, MEP, Plunkett and Roberts Halls are not large enough to hold every single freshmen. As a result, there is an overflow of freshmen into these upperclassmen dorms that again, do not have that particular rule. It is not fair some members of the freshmen class must abide by this rule while others do not.

What is exactly the purpose of the curfew rule? If sex is the answer, people have got it all wrong. When putting more than 700 freshmen in one concentrated place just a hop and a skip away from each other, sex is going to happen, whether it’s inside or outside the designated times. Also, there is no justification for sophomores, juniors and seniors living in the upperclassmen dorms to be able to participate in such “extra-curricular” activities while freshmen are forbidden.

Given that most students enter the uni- versity as adults, anyone who is having sex presumably chooses to, and that should not be anyone’s business but theirs. Aside from that, there is a population of freshmen that would just like to hang out or study with each other past the curfew. This seems perfectly reasonable, as long as they are not disturbing other residents in the hall. Many of my friends have been kicked out just for hanging out past the time the curfew designates.

All in all, the escort rule should be upheld, but more as a loose guideline than a heavily enforced rule. Instead, students should be educated about keeping our campus safe from outside threats that may try to infiltrate the dormitories. A student should be able to produce a Mercer ID if asked when wandering the halls alone, and for non-Mercer visitors, a visitor’s pass or clearance from an RA. The curfew rule should be done away with. If members of the opposite sex are causing a disturbance in the dorm, then by all means, take action and stop such disturbances. Most of the freshmen class are legal adults. It should not be necessary to abide by rules telling us what time and for how long we are allowed to fellowship with our friends, no matter what gender they are.


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