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It’s Time For Marquette To Change Its Visitation Policy

It’s Time For Marquette To Change Its Visitation Policy

Marquette’s residence halls are a great place to be in the first two years of college.  They can be places of community, support, and personal growth.  However, no institution is perfect, and Marquette is no different.  It’s time for Marquette’s visitation policy to hit the road, and here’s why:

Marquette’s visitation policy makes inaccurate assumptions about its residents.

One thing’s certain about MU Residence Life:  Marquette takes care of its students.  The limitless dining options make sure that we never go hungry, our RAs are always present to make sure that we are not getting into dangerous shenanigans, and I have never felt unsafe in my dorm.  Many of Marquette’s decisions regarding its on-campus residents, however, border on hand-holding.  Marquette needs to recognize that the residents of their dorms are adults, and disallowing those adults from making their own decisions creates a dangerous environment when they enter off-campus housing.  If the University gives its students the responsibility to act like rational adults and follow policy, it should also give students enough trust not to engage in risky behavior.

The policy is also heteronormative in that it expects that only people in heterosexual relationships are having sex.  This assumption is harmful in that it erases the lived experience of LGBT students.  For all that Marquette preaches in regards to openness to LGBT students and other marginalized groups, its own archaic policy fails to acknowledge these students. 

Visitation policy is almost impossible to enforce.

Having lived in the residence halls for two years, I can personally attest to this point.  Residents think that this policy is moronic. “It’s the twenty-first century,” one of my friends recently reminded me.  For Marquette students, it’s obvious that the visitation policy is notoriously disrespected.  Because people don’t take this policy seriously, the policy is broken near-constantly.  Sneaking in an overnight guest of a different gender is as easy as having a friend of their gender check them in and having them switch rooms later in the night.  For opposite-gender students who live in the same building, visitation policy is ridiculously easy to break. There are no official measures in place to prevent a man sleeping in a woman’s room (or vice versa) except in the event that an RA hears the voice of someone of the “wrong gender” in the room in question.  Ultimately, visitation policy is one of the hardest policies to enforce.  This means that, in the end, visitation policy is a weak effort to scare us into “doing the right thing” instead of making an actual effort to protect us.

Marquette lags behind other Catholic universities when it comes to visitation.

Marquette officials often cite the university’s Catholic values as the reason that opposite-gender overnight visitation is against policy.  The Office of Residence Life could stand to learn from other institutions.  Chicago’s DePaul University, the largest Catholic university in the U.S., allows overnight guests of any gender in its dorms as long as the visit does not outlast two nights of a week-long period and as long as the visit has been approved by both roommates.  Marquette administrators might argue that a more relaxed visitation policy might deter very religious prospective students, but one must only compare MU’s enrollment (11,745) with DePaul’s (23,539) to see that less intense visitation policy is hardly a detriment to enrollment.  In the twenty-first century, it’s time to realize that more progressive policies don’t mean a betrayal of our Catholic values.


            Ultimately, Marquette’s visitation policy serves as little more than a tired and archaic link to “Catholic values” that are incompatible with today’s university students.  It’s time for Marquette University to get the memo:  times are changing.

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