On Nov. 5, students received an email from USC Housing detailing a new guest policy for on-campus residential buildings.
“Guests will still be allowed to visit [residents in their buildings],” read the email. “However, they will have to be signed in by a resident of the building and leave a valid ID in exchange for a temporary guest pass.”
Though this new policy aims to improve the security of buildings on campus, it is an inefficient and redundant system, and has raised considerable concern among students who live on campus. USC Housing should take these concerns seriously and reform the policy to not include students already entered in housing contracts with the university.
It is reasonable to require guests who are not affiliated with the university to register when staying overnight in a residence hall. This provides an incentive for off-campus, non-USC guests, who did not sign a housing contract, to adhere to USC Housing policy.
Keenan Cheung, director of USC Housing, explained in an email to the Daily Trojan, however, that a guest of a building is any person — university-affiliated or not — who is not a contracted resident of that particular building. These guests must sign in and exchange an ID for a guest pass, a change that differs from the current policy that only requires registration for overnight guests.
Extending the requirement of registration to include people affiliated with the university is unnecessary. The majority of visitors to on-campus residence buildings are USC students who have already signed a contract agreeing to abide by the rules dictated by USC Housing and the USC Student Code of Conduct.
As many students living on and off campus frequent other dormitories, the process of registering each one of these students and exchanging their IDs for guest passes will inevitably cause heavy congestion in building lobbies. Such congestion removes the ability of students to enter and leave dorms quickly to borrow a book or clothes from a friend, for example. It also makes group study ventures much more difficult. Requiring all members of a study group — who might be coming from different dorms — to spend several minutes registering as an outsider discourages students from using the study rooms in residence buildings.
In addition, requiring campus residents to register in other dorms seems unnecessary when the university is already stationing new security personnel at the entrances of on-campus residences to check IDs. If the policy aims to protect students against supposed invaders, requiring the registration of students serves no purpose.
USC Housing should amend the new guest policy requirement to address only guests who are not university-affiliated. The new 24-hour security staff can easily check IDs as a means of distinguishing between USC students and off-campus guests.
Not only would reforming the policy satisfy students, allowing for ease when having visitors, it would still meet the university’s need for greater security on campus. And it would be an admirable effort on USC Housing’s part to show that they are not only willing to work on and improve the campus’ residential housing experience, but to also listen and take into account student concerns.
Matt Tinoco is a freshman majoring in international relations.