By Bailey Baker
Beginning in the fall of 2018 Neufeld Hall with have no closed hours and will be the only residence hall on campus to have full 24/7 open hours. Responses to the policy change cover a range of opinions, and even though many students are excited about the transition, some on campus still have concerns.
“I am upset because I really like my room and the building,” said Brock Wajda, a freshman who currently lives on second floor in Neufeld. “I love living in Neufeld and the people here make it so much better than I ever would have imagined.”
Wajda, along with the other freshman who live in Neufeld this year, will have to find other halls to live in beginning in the 2018-19 school year.
“I am happy that I get to make my own decisions now, as I am an adult,” said Allison Pancake, a student who lives in Neufeld now and will be a junior next year. “But, I don’t agree with kicking the underclassmen out. It’s not fair.”
Caylin Morstadt doesn’t agree with the policy change, and although she will be a junior next fall, she has no desire to move into Neufeld for the change of rules.
“I think Bluffton’s new idea is not fair,” said Morstadt. “Being independent starts at college, not when the school decides to let you have the opposite gender in your room.”
This policy change being “unfair” is one argument, another response is concern over safety.
Louise Matthews, director at The Lion and Lamb Peace Arts Center on Bluffton’s campus, has other concerns about the policy change.
“Roommates become vulnerable when one is unable to speak up for him/herself in regards to feeling uncomfortable with the opposite sex being in their room,” said Matthews. “The sense of Bluffton’s mission and those aspects that are ‘important’ to the university, are somewhat at risk with this policy change.”
Matthews wants her voice to speak for those students who feel as if they are unable to speak up.
“Sexual misconduct is my biggest concern,” Matthews said. “Why wouldn’t we do everything we can to prevent these types of issues from arising, instead of just training us [staff] to respond to reports?”
During the room draw in the spring of 2018, juniors and seniors will be able to choose if they would like to be put in the lottery to live in Neufeld.
“I think that the upperclassmen are missing out on a great opportunity to become a mentor to the freshman,” said D’nae Reese, a senior this year. “I loved being on a floor with freshman, it allowed me to be a leader.” Kevin Williams, director of Residence Life, has said that the details haven’t been worked out yet, and that Residence Life will address many unanswered questions before Christmas break.
“This policy change gives students an opportunity to be independent,” said Williams. “It is offered to upperclassmen because they have gained the progressive independence from the university.”