The Compass Friday, March 8, 1996 15
A Compass Special Report:
Under the cover of darkness...
co-ed visitation is a fact of life
by Yushawnda Thomas
It's 2 a.m. Saturday morning and
Rachel is awakened by a loud banging
on the door of an adjoining dorm room.
As she hugs her boyfriend who is
sleeping beside her, Rachel hears a key
slipping into her door. Someone tries
to enter but the chain stops them. Then,
a deep male voice says, "Ma'am, she
has the door locked from the inside."
Rachel, in a panic now, shakes her
"It's campus police!" she whispers
tersely. "They're doing a room check!"
Her boyfriend curses and jumps up
from the bed. As the police began
knocking impatiently at the door, he
heads for the closet but Rachel jerks
him towards the bed.
"Wait! Get under the bed," she whis
Her comforter is so long the dorm
director doesn't notice him when she
comes into the room and checks the
closet John had been a breath away
from moments before. When the direc
tor leaves. Rachel throws up a corner
of her comforter and pulls her dishev
eled boyfriend from under the bed.
"I'm gonna kill my roommate for
locking me out of my room," he says
Rachael and her boyfriend (not their
real names) are among many ECSU
students who routinely defy the cam
pus restriction on co-ed visitation.
Although ECSU has outlawed co-ed
visitation beyond the lobby of all
dorms, the policy is not strictly en
Doles Hall (men's dorm), for in
stance, is usually vacated by all chap
erones by 11 p.m. and if the lobby is
full, females can still enter the dorm
through the side fire escape. The door
is usually ajar and has no alarm.
Fire escapes at Hugh Cale, Wamack
and Symera allow easy access to rooms
for female visitors. These fire escapes
are in constant use after dark for that
At Butler, women have two flights of
stairs to choose from, whichever pro
vides the quickest route to their desti
nation. There is little chance they are
seen going anywhere other than on the
Dorm directors, who are usually in
their rooms with the doors shut, don't
notice the illicit visitors.
Unlike the men's dorms, women's
residence halls almost always have at
least one overseer present, and are strict
in enforcing the co-ed visitation policy.
Women are only allowed to have
male visitors in the lobby. The female
dorms are locked at 1:00 a.m. on week
days and at 2 a.m. on weekends.
Bias and Mitchell-Lewis attempted
to restrict male visitors by placing locks
on the fire escape doors; nevertheless
female residents kept removing the
locks to allow male visitors entrance
and exit. In October alarms were in
stalled on all fire escape doors; now if
the door is open the alarm sounds. Stu
dents say the presence of these alarms
has slowed down nocturnal visits
somewhat — although they still hap
By the time a dorm director responds,
the male visitor is usually in the room.
In the New Dorm, females prop open
two fire escape doors so male visitors
can enter. Entrance can also be gained
through windows on the first floor. The
TV/visitation room leads directly into
the hallway, which allows access to the
stairs and elevator. A booth at the front
door is usually occupied by either a
resident advisor or the dorm manager;
the booth does not allow the occupant
to see inside the TV room, however.
The Complex, ranging from A to G,
is a housing unit which enables men
and women to have a room to them
selves with minimum supervision. Co
ed visitation goes on there all day, and
occasionally, all night long. Only two
directors are assigned to keep track of
If the directors notice a pattern of co
ed visitation taking place, they will con
duct "surprise" room searches—which
are usually unsuccessful.
Students who are caught violating
the policy must appear at a hearing
conducted by a board of faculty mem
bers and students, according to Dr.
Leon White, Vice Chancellor for Stu
"The first time you are caught they
have the option of sending you home
for good," said Dr. Leon White. "But
most likely you will be put on proba
tion for a period of time ranging from
one semester until the time you gradu
For a second offense students can be
put out of school for one semester or
for up to an entire year, said White.
ECSU tends to be more lenient with
first offenses but officials are more strict
with those guilty of second infractions,
Student observers say they are not
aware of many cases in which students
have been sent home for violating the
Uruversity's co-ed policy.
"People don't get caught that often,"
said one student. "They don't have
enough dorm checks to catch people
on a regular basis."
ECSU's co-ed visitation policy is
designed to ensure the "safety and
security" of students, according
to Vice Chancellor White.
"We don't want co-ed visita
tion," he stated. "It leads to too
many other problems involving
female safety — including rape
White also said co-ed visita
tion could cause relationships
to deteriorate between men and
women on campus.
"Men are very close to not respect
ing women," he said.
ECSU students interviewed by The
Compass say they oppose the campus
restrictions on co-ed visitation. They
see it as an unfair attempt to impose,
unwanted old-fashioned values on
"I didn't come to school to be treated
like a child," said one ECSU junior.
"Why should I have the freedom at
home, but not at this University?"
"We can make our own decisions,"
said another student. "We pay the rent;
we ought to be able to do what we
want in our rooms."
Still other students said they didn't
have to sneak around to visit members
of the opposite sex.
"Your parents sent you to college to
grow up and mature and become a
responsible adult and then you've got
to sneak around to go get your groove
on. Come on."
Still other students disagreed with
the idea of the University's placing re
strictions on their behavior and pro
tecting their safety.
"We are about to go out into the real
world, what are they protecting us
"I get locked in the dorm at one
o'clock — locked in like an animal,"
complained one junior. "I'm not
trapped like that at home."
Many students protested having to
live with a policy that is not effectively
"The school needs to make one of
two decisions; either we have co-ed
visitation or we don't. If they decide to
strike it, we need to have cameras on
the doors, staff members sitting at the
front desk, our suite keys need to fit
the front doors, and they need to put a
booth on this end of campus (New
Dorm). Laws aren't worth anything
if there isn't anyone to enforce them."
says Valerie Bouldon, president of the
New Residence Hall.
Students also object to having family
members stopped at the door when
trying to visit.
"Why is it that you think that every
time a male and female get together all
they can do, or all they have to do, is
have sexual intercourse?" said
Bouldon. "I need to be able to study
with men and I have male friends. I
have a brother who is not allowed to
come into my room. We have things
that don't need to be discussed in the
lobby or the TV room."
The UNC System has no overall
policy on co-ed visitation, according to
Joru Worthington, UNC System Direc
tor of Corrununications. "The decision
is left to the institutional board of trust
ees. Under the board policies, co-ed
visitation is handled and approved."
Several schools in the UNC System
allow co-ed visitation. They include
North Carolina State University and
Students feel that the University has
no way of stopping illicit visitations no
matter how hard they try.
"If people want to visit co-ed then
there is really nothing that the Univer
sity can do about it unless they post
guards at the door every night."
One ECSU official admitted that the
campus co-ed visitation policy will
eventually be phased out.
"We're looking at about two years
before the policy on co-ed visitation is
changed," said the official.
When informed of the upcoming
plans for ECSU, one student felt meth
odized visiting would bring an end to
the excitement. "Once we get co-ed visi
tation, all the fun is going to be gone."