University Housing continues ban on outside guests for Unofficial

By Maggie Sullivan

Every year, hundreds of college students will visit the University to celebrate Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day. Every year, many of these students will try to circumvent the dorms’ no visitor policies. And every year, local police will arrest many visitors.

But numbers from the University of Illinois Police Department show that more nonUniversity-affiliated students receive notices to appear in court on Unofficial than University students.

“It’s not their property, it’s not their home, so they might not treat it with respect,” said Kendra Bristow, business office manager at Bromley Hall.

Unofficial celebrations begin Friday morning, but from Thursday at 5 p.m. until Sunday at 8 a.m., University and Private Certified Housing’s visitor policies will change.

Typically for private certified housing, residents can check in a maximum of two guests per night for a maximum of three nights, Bristow said.

“We start on Thursday night, where residents can only check in one guest, and that one guest has to be the same for the entire weekend, and it has to be a U of I student — no out of town guests are allowed,” Bristow said.

To enforce the policy, Bristow said additional security will be present to ensure students have their I-Cards to prove they attend the University.

“We pretty much fall in line with what the University is doing, and what the University of Illinois is proposing for University Housing,” Bristow said.

Kirsten Ruby, associate director of Housing for communications and marketing, said visitor policies at the University haven’t changed for the past four or five years.

“We have a lot of students from other campuses who find that this is a good time to come down here and raise some trouble,” Ruby said.

In University Housing, additional staff and the University of Illinois Police Department will be placed in residence halls for safety and security purposes, as well as to protect University property. At 6 p.m. on Friday, the exterior doors to the Student Dining and Residential Programs Building will lock and will only be accessible using I-Cards. The doors will unlock at 9 a.m. Sunday.

Ruby said frequently, these visiting students sneak into residence halls and try to sleep on the floor in sleeping bags for the night.

“That’s very disruptive to the students who live there — it’s not fair,” she said.

Alie Vahlkamp, a sophomore at Roosevelt University in Chicago, visited last Unofficial and stayed with her friend Lindsey Buckmore, sophomore in LAS.

“It was the first weekend of spring break, and it was on my way home,” Vahlkamp said.

Buckmore agreed that the timing was mostly coincidental and said Vahlkamp just wanted to visit during her spring break and the two events happened to be the same weekend.

Buckmore, who lived in Presby Hall last year, said she and Vahlkamp didn’t try to get back into the building that night.

While Buckmore admitted she could understand where the University Housing policy was coming from, she also said it was an inconvenience.

“People don’t always want to celebrate Unofficial, they just want to come,” Buckmore said.

Ruby stood by the University’s policy.

“We hope our students continue to make good, safe choices,” she said. “Most of the students on this campus are here to study and we appreciate that, and we’re trying to keep this a campus where they can continue to do so.”

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