Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Wednesday, August 15, 2018

AU requires new residence hall registration process for inauguration weekend

Students were required to register guests for inauguration weekend before Jan. 15

AU requires new residence hall registration process for inauguration weekend

In response to the high number of tourists and visitors traveling to Washington this weekend for the presidential inauguration, AU Housing and Dining has mandated a new guest registration and visitor policy for on-campus residence halls.

Students planning to host guests from Thursday, Jan. 18 to Sunday, Jan. 22 needed to register their visitors ahead of time with AU and secure a guest ID for each visitor. All passes, guest IDs and student IDs must be shown to receive entry into any on-campus residence halls during Inauguration weekend.

Vice President of Housing and Dining Chris Moody said that the new, temporary registration requirement will allow Housing and Dining to anticipate the number of guests that will be visiting and plan accordingly.

“Registering guests in advance of the weekend (when we expect a higher number of visitors) also helps us ensure that we are not overloading the functioning capacity of building facilities, mainly plumbing, by having too many occupants using bathrooms,” Moody said in an email.

The guest registration policy is not unprecedented for inauguration weekend, as AU followed a similar policy during the inauguration in 2009. The Eagle reported in 2009 that AU students also had to register guests during the previous inauguration to help Housing and Dining monitor the crowds and prevent plumbing and facility concerns.

Archives from The Eagle in 2009 show that the 2017 policy does not differ significantly from the former regulations, and Moody said that Housing and Dining considered the 2009 policy when creating this year’s requirements.

“The information contained in those historical documents were still relevant, so they were edits to be applicable for the current year,” Moody said in an email. “We also consulted with the housing programs at George Washington University and Georgetown University to make sure we were planning similar processes and setting similar expectations.”

Director of Public Relations Kelly Alexander said that Public Safety will also be planning to provide staffing necessary to handle the crowds. The police on campus receive consistent news updates to help them plan and prepare for high-traffic or high-security events, such as the inauguration.

“AUPD is briefed daily by the Washington Regional Threat Analysis Center on intelligence and events that affect the National Capitol Region,” Alexander said in an email.

Becca Downey, a resident assistant in Anderson Hall, said that the registration policy, additional security and the guest ID mandate allow RAs to quickly scan the halls and make sure that no unexpected guests or additional visitors have entered the building. She said that the residence halls are already over capacity because of the delayed construction of East Campus and the large number of consequential triples, so any additional unregistered, unexpected guests could pose safety concerns.

“If we see suspicious activity, we are going to question if you belong there for safety of the residents,” Downey said.”

Under the new policy, each resident may host up to two guests, which could potentially result in up to nine people in one residence hall room, if each person in a triple invites two people, Downey said. However, Downey said that the traffic in the residence hall has not been as busy as she expected, and she only saw one visitor on her shift Thursday morning.

The number of RAs on duty will still double over the weekend, and four RAs will be responsible for each shift through Sunday, Downey said, regardless of the number of guests. In addition, Downey said that alternative programming has been planned for students looking for safe spaces to engage in civil, political discussions or just relax.

“The active programming does place extra work on the RAs, but it’s an extra resource for students who feel left out,” Downey said. “Stability is something that we emphasize, the power of kindness.”




sscovel@theeagleonline.com


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