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Editorial: A wake-up call to Housing

Under current rules, apartment quiet hours are unfair

Published: Friday, October 7, 2011

Updated: Friday, October 7, 2011 00:10


The Department of Housing announced over the summer the change of quiet hours for on-campus apartments (the Gables and Woodsides) as well as Babcock Hall.

The quiet hours were moved up an hour, both on weekdays and weekends, to align with the quiet hours of on-campus dormitories.

Housing said the change came because "a lot" of students complained of late-night noise in the annual survey that Housing distributes.

The move is troubling for a few reasons, namely because it contradicts the reason most students live in on-campus apartments – additional freedom.

On its website, Housing calls living in on-campus apartments "a comfortable transition between the residence halls and independent living after graduation."

If it wants to call these apartments a "transition," then let it be just that.

But right now they're calling it a transition despite the fact that they're changing rules to align with on-campus dorms.

In section A4 of the most recent Room and Board Agreement that students sign, it states "Babcock and apartment residents may not be reassigned to the undergraduate residence hall system unless granted an exception by the Department of Housing."

That's the most troubling part.

If Housing wants to force apartments to adhere to the rules of dorms, we're fine with that – so long as they treat it like a dorm if students decide they want to live in an on-campus dorm afterward.

Currently, though, on-campus residents are adhering to the same rules as dorms, but are not being allowed to move back on campus without being granted special permission.

"It is quite uncommon that we are able to make an exception for the fall semester but we do a few every year for students in the most extenuating circumstances," said Amy T. Whitney, assistant director of housing for occupancy and assignments.

That's not fair.

We didn't mind that apartment-living students weren't able to move back to dorms when quiet hours were different. Students were used to a certain set of additional responsibilities and rules. Now, though, they're not. 

As is, the only additional responsibilities for on-campus apartments are a kitchen and living room. That's not enough to discourage students from moving back to on-campus dorms.

We were on board with a number of Housing's summer changes including the renovation of several Woodsides buildings and the addition of Wi-Fi in a number of dorms.

But we disagree with the on-campus apartment rule.

It was one that flew under the radar and one that, unfortunately, came after students had already chosen housing for this semester. 

We understand that Housing's survey, the one that led to the quiet-hour change, wasn't completed until the end of the year, but students should know the rules of their future home before making a deposit.

Housing's decision has been made. It's pointless to dread on that unfortunate move now. In Tuesday's issue, The New Hampshirite proposed in his weekly column a petition to present to Housing asking them to move quiet hours back an hour – to their original time. 

We don't think that's Housing's only option, though. In order to remain fair to students, they have two options: Move quiet hours back to 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. while not allowing on-campus apartment-livers to transfer back to on-campus dorms. Or, keep quiet hours in on-campus apartments the same as dorms, but allow students to transfer between the two without a hassle.

Until Housing agrees to one of those, though, they're holding students to irrational rules. The best move now is to change that rule.

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R. Feeney
Fri Oct 7 2011 08:24
Where I went to college (Bryn Mawr), every dorm got to vote on their own quiet hours. People who wanted quiet earlier gravitated towards the dorms that were traditionally quieter. The college felt it important for students to learn how to govern themselves.

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