Students should not ‘cohabit’ with lack of housing options

Evan Watson/The News
Evan Watson/The News

Evan Watson/The News

Since the semester began, Murray State has been cohabiting with a confusing and just plain stupid policy as far as having visitors in the residential colleges is concerned.

In order to avoid the thorny issue of actual cohabitation between students of the opposite sex, a special committee met to determine what should be done last fall and concluded its work in the spring semester.

The committee recommended limiting guest visits to a six hour window between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. It decided to allow overnight guests on the weekend, beginning 9 p.m. on Friday and ending 9 p.m. on Sunday, provided there is a roommate agreement.

If you live in the residential college system, you are well aware of these changes, which went into effect when the semester began.

So, what’s our beef with this policy, anyway? Isn’t this just a reasonable solution to an issue with the potential to cause a lot of headaches?

That’s how the administration would like to sell this issue, but that line of argument conflicts with reality.

It limits the overall freedom of students to have guests over by taking it out of their hands and turning it over to residential advisers.

First and foremost, is this policy really going to prevent students intent on cohabiting from doing so?

In some cases, yes; in other cases, no. If a couple lives in the same residential college and can find out a way to switch rooms without the residential adviser taking notice or getting the residential adviser to give a green light to the move, you are going to have cohabitation, six-hour rule or not.

What about same-sex couples? They can share a room without any worry about whether or not they are going to be engaging in any funny business.

The administration has thus designed a policy that discriminates against opposite sex couples who wish to spend the night over or co-habit.

What is the big deal with cohabiting between young men and women anyway?

If a couple or even just friends of the opposite sex who feel more comfortable with one another than they do anyone else and want to live with one another, why should Murray State prevent them from doing so?

Why should the administration have the right to decide how long outside visitors can stay?

Shouldn’t that be between roommates?

If roommates can agree on who will clean what, one assumes they would likewise be able to come up with a solution concerning how long guests would be allowed to stay in their rooms.

The administration, for its part, seems to be responding to complaints from parents concerned about students cohabiting in the dorms.

Which raises the question as to whom the administration is more afraid of – the students, who in theory this institution is run to educate, or their parents, who have far less say in what a student takes course-wise and what they do when they are away from home.

Students at Murray State are not children.

The administration has no right to treat us as such or cave into demands from mommies and daddies back home to make sure that we’re not doing anything that might make them upset. We are all adults here. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t be here in the first place.

If anything, the administration should be catering to the oft-heard demand from students that there should be more, not fewer, housing options on campus.

One of those options should be a residential college that allows for cohabitation between male and female students. This is not a radical concept.

The administration is, of course, terrified of the prospect of losing dollars from parents upset about the prospect of funny business going on behind closed doors.

Unless students get organized and get up in arms about the lack of housing options on campus for couples, nothing will ever get done about the situation.

Students who want to change housing policy on campus might take a page out of the government shutdown playbook and withhold tuition payments until something gets done about the lack of housing options on campus, cohabitation friendly or not.

The University can more easily fend off upset parents than it can stand to have large numbers of students stop paying their tuition.

If students want to have more options, they have got to fight for them or quit complaining.