The Undergraduate Residential Life Committee (URLC), a part of the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA), passed a new lockout policy two weeks ago that allows each student one free lockout. In addition, the Office of Residential Life (ResLife) plans to refund any students who have been charged for a first lockout this semester.
The policy was first conceived by the URLC, which coordinated with ResLife to put it into effect. It was enacted as soon as it was passed by the URLC members.
“The URLC pushed for this new policy because we felt it was unfair to punish students for a mistake that is so easy to make, especially as doors in many of the dorms lock automatically,” said Joanna Seirup ’11, a member of the URLC.
Since so few students end up getting more than one lockout, ResLife believed that eliminating the charge for a first offence was fair. Last year, of the 221 lockouts, only 52 were repeat offences.
“What a lot of the students in URLC were saying is that it’s not so much the ten dollars that reinforces you to remember your key, it’s the whole hassle of having to get someone from Public Safety or finding the RA [Residential Advisor],” said Director of ResLife and co-chair of the URLC Fran Koerting. “The ten dollars isn’t really the deterrent.”
ResLife’s previous policy charged students ten dollars for each after-hours lockout, except during the first two weeks of the school year. Under the new policy, students will be charged this amount for every lockout after their first.
“This policy will benefit students who have not gotten comfortable with their automatically locking door and make the mistake of closing it without having their key,” said Becky Weiss ’10, co-chair of the URLC. “I think this is a great change that will save many students money.”
While students view this policy change as positive, many believe the cost for lockouts is still unnecessarily large.
“I don’t think it should cost anything to have your door unlocked, so not charging for the first time is a good idea,” said Robert Eastman ’11, who has already been locked out twice this year. “The self locking doors are a hassle. I know they automatically lock for safety reasons, but sometimes you’re in a hurry and might forget to grab your key.”
Nick Luby ’11 agreed.
“It’s obviously an improvement, but it still sucks to have to pay a lockout fee,” Luby said. “Ten dollars seems like a lot for an RA who’s already on duty to let someone in. But then again, if it were at four in the morning, I wouldn’t want to do it for free.”
The fee, in fact, does not go directly to RAs. According to Koerting, the money goes toward the funds that RAs use to do programming for their residents.
Despite getting three to four lockouts a weekend, Danielle Campbell ’09, an RA in Hewitt, expressed that she did not believe the hassle of getting a key after hours is worth the ten dollar fee.
“I think [the new policy] is good to a certain extent, since most people only get locked out once, but I think it’s still unnecessary to charge people ten dollars for being locked out,” she said.
According to Seirup, however, the URLC has no plans to make further changes to the lockout policy.
“We feel that a charge for a second or third lockout is reasonable, since the student has been given a reasonable chance, and lockouts do require effort on the part of the RAs,” Seirup said.