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The bedroom debate continues

In her response to my previous article in support of changes to intervisitation, Ms. Bowman suggests that she agrees on the conclusion—that amendments should be made—but not the reasoning leading to it. Well, it would appear then that another student has been won to the cause.

She would agree that intervisitation policy ought to be changed, along with virtually every other Concordia student, each for his or her own personal reasons. I laid out mine. She disagreed. She was probably far from the only one.

For that reason I will defend the reasons laid out in my previous opinion, though surely there are many others some may feel I missed.

First, Bowman makes the point that conflict and discomfort does not necessarily beget growth. She declares that “Concordia fulfills this need by encouraging students to become engaged and passionate about what they believe,” which is admirably optimistic but escapes the point.

Without even going into whether or not that mission is effectively accomplished, treating students as half-adults by seeing to some sort of regulatory bedtime does not uphold “this need.” Opening intervisitation would not inherently push students into “damaging and emotionally vexing situations.” Even assuming it did, there are a couple things to think about.

First, even if opening intervisitation did beget “emotionally vexing” situations, good. Roommate conflicts, though unfortunate, are part of the college experience and, above all, the life experience. Better to experience them now than when there isn’t an RA to help out with any emotional or logistical concerns. Landlords won’t care half as much. Indeed they shouldn’t, simply because their expectation is that their tenants are adults and can handle those problems on their own.

Second, if intervisitation did cause those problems, then we narrow the problem to one of gender, as allowing people of the same sex can engender the same conflicts. Confrontations like “I need sleep, tell your friend to get out” are not confined to one sex or another.

Ms. Bowman also challenges the idea that intervisitation policy plays into a student’s college decision. However, as negligible as the impact might seem, the policy paints a picture, and not one of freedom and adulthood. Bowman is right to conclude that students choose a school for a whole slew of reasons. However, if a student knows about this policy, it will rarely be a point in Concordia’s favor. If it does make a student feel safer—it surely makes mommy and daddy feel better—then that student is in the minority.

That is not to say that the concerns of that minority shouldn’t be addressed with great concern, but rather that their love of comfort and conflict-aversion is being prioritized over the many concerns of the many students that comprise the majority.

Lost in the wake of her disagreement with my reasoning, though, was the point. Change ought to be made. In Bowman’s words, “The college needs to move forward in terms of visitation policy.” Perhaps we are not in agreement on the degree of change required—Bowman only says “amend”—but at the heart of it all was another student displeased with the policy as it stands. Maybe some thought should be given to changing it.

Students are dissatisfied. Sure, some may love it the way it is, and this writer begs even one of them to come forth and argue for it, to write a response that argues for it and, with any luck, does so with vigor, vitality and enough wit to make the rest of us seem downright bonkers. At least then we would be having the right discussion. Everyone has his or her reasons. This writer would like to hear some from the other side of the aisle.


  1. Roger Springer Roger Springer February 5, 2013

    Let’s face some facts here…:
    1.) Intervisitation is something that incoming freshman have no idea exists, and, although an inconvenience, is no more a decision maker than the fact that DS doesn’t have Mountain Dew.

    2.) The abolition of the intervisitation policy as it stands is a great idea, but I don’t think the reasoning originally cited by the author here is a valid one. Yes, intervisitation seems to create a “pseudo-adult” environment for the students, but I don’t think that the reason to remove it should be to cause adult conflict. The roommate agreements that are required for every student to fill out are the best way to mediate conflict in this case. Whether there is an RA there or not, it is important for people to resolve conflicts on their own, not through their RA.

    and finally…
    3.) If we are going to truly make a free environment for everyone here at Concordia, then we need to take into consideration what we consider a free environment. Yes, intervis is an inconvenience, but really, how inconvenient is it? On the weekend it may serve as more of a hassle than it is worth, but during the week intervis is helpful to some wishing to actually sleep before their 8 AM chemistry classes.

    I think we need to have an open dialogue, and we need to seriously think about the benefits and the risks here.

  2. John Smith John Smith February 2, 2013

    You’re forgetting the best argument: any negative consequence of change is empirically proven false by every other liberal arts college.

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