Historically black colleges and universities are notorious for their visitation policies. After some research, I found that most HBCU’s have a more restrictive policy than predominately white institutions. As an HBCU student, I decided that the best place to do research is right here at my future alma mater, Clark Atlanta University.
The visitation policy at Clark Atlanta is as follows for all on-campus housing: Visitation is from 6PM-11:30PM Monday-Sunday as stated on the official school website. It is also stated that the official stance of the school on visitation is that it is a privilege and not a right. Let me be clear, I do NOT pay $40K a year to receive the same treatment an inmate of a federal prison, who receives it for free.
After doing a little research I concluded that these policies are not only unfair but inherently racist and that students deserve to know why.
The current policy has visitation starting at 6 pm. After a conversation with Alake Jacobs, Freshman at Clark Atlanta, He quickly helped me realize that this policy perpetuates the sexualization of black bodies. “If they were truly worried about safety, statistics show that robberies and domestic violence incidents happen less during the day,” said the freshman. He feels that these policies are enacted not for students to genuinely convene with each other but to promote the overused stereotype that all black teenagers do is have sex.
Looking further into the situation, I realized that these restrictive policies are usually only enforced at black institutions. PWI’s like Georgia State and Emory University have policies that include 24-hour visitation, as well as overnight visitation. When I interviewed residence life employee, Larance Carter, he said that CAU does not allow overnight visitation because the residence life does not feel they could provide adequate security for students and overnight guest. While I do believe this is true, as far as overnight visitation due to the lack of liquid funds at CAU, but 24-hour visitation is feasible. Especially since Dr. White, Director of Residence life helped Howard university achieve 24 Hour Visitation.
These restrictive policies insinuate that black students need to be policed in their own spaces making this policy and others alike around the country inherently racist as well as perpetuating a stereotype HBCU’s have been devoted to tearing down.
I believe the way to combat these policies is by empowering the students to speak up against the things that are unfair to the students. “The administration has no other choice but to listen to us, it’s their job. They would have no livelihood if It weren’t for us and we need to act like it,” said an upperclassman on-campus resident, Reginae Butler. Jacobs has put this plan into action, he’s been meeting with the residence life office for months now working to change these policies.
Being the change we wish to see in the world, starts with making a change in our community. By taking matters into our own hands, we have the power to change whatever.