St. Thomas University allows guests on residence, updates policy

    Revised residence policies meant students had more opportunities to socialize with each other. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

    Kiara Landry lives next to the Windsor Street resident coordinator, a spot she said caused her roommate to get caught having guests over. She said she didn’t understand why she and her roommates could attend sports practice or parties, but they couldn’t have a friend over.

    The incident sparked her to write a letter to the editor about residence life’s guest policy published in The Aquinian on Nov. 1. Eight days later, residence life sent an email to Rigby Hall and Windsor Street residents changing the guest policy.

    “No one would have known what was going on in residence if we hadn’t written the letter,” said Landry, a fourth-year St. Thomas University student.

    The guest policy prior to the change didn’t allow any guests. With the change, Rigby Hall students are allowed to have one other Rigby student in their room at a time, but still no non-Rigby guests. For Windsor Street residences, which are houses owned by the university rented out to students that still follow residence rules, each member of the household can register one guest who remains their only guest. Guests must go through a screening question process before entering each time.

    Landry said she thinks her letter helped influence residence life to change their guest policy.

    Brock Richardson, director of student services and residence life, said otherwise.

    “I think we probably saw that letter, but that didn’t influence the changing of [the guest policy],” he said.

    Landry said the updated policy is a good start, but there’s more work to be done.

    She said her parents come visit together so she’d have to pick which parent could stay with her and “the other has to go spend $250 [to] $200 dollars to sleep at a hotel.”

    “[The guest policy] is okay for the person that has one support person that they want to continuously have,” said Landry.

    Brock Richardson, St. Thomas University director of student services, said residence life had a sense they’d start the year with a zero-guests policy. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

    Richardson said residence life discussed the future of the guest policy in the summer and had a sense they’d start the year with a zero-guests policy, but if COVID-19 cases decreased around Thanksgiving, they could start to open it up. He said the outbreaks in Moncton and Campbellton pushed their ability to expand the policy to a month later.

    “This is mainly coming from our interactions with public health in the summer and understanding various dynamics that would allow us to do this and the timing that would allow us to do this,” said Richardson.

    Landry said her house had a meeting with residence life due to her roommate’s guest policy violation. She said having the meeting was frustrating because she knew people in Windsor houses further away from the residence coordinator’s house have guests all the time.

    She said the meeting consisted of her and her roommates telling residence life their concerns with the policy, similar to what Landry said in her letter.

    Landry said it would be nice to be able to have a friend or two over to talk through the difficult time of year without having to go to a public area like the school’s study spaces.

    She said she reached out to residence life prior to the meeting about issues such as her room flooding in October. But Landry said their answers were “flat” and one-word responses.

    The culmination of issues with residence is what ultimately led Landry to submit a public letter.

    “It’s always a risk, putting your opinion out there, because you’re always subject to other people’s opinions,” Landry said.

    “But everyone’s always going to have their opinions on a situation, so, there’s really there’s no harm in putting your opinion out there.”