“I know a lot of girls feel unsafe walking to a door that is farther away, specifically at night when they have to walk past the dumpsters to get inside that entrance,” said resident Alison Rieck. “(Administrators) should be looking out for our safety, rather than our sense of community.”
However, prior to the enactment of the policy, several safety assessments were conducted to assure the new door policy did not endanger student security in any way.
“Virginia Tech takes safety quite seriously,” Sax said. “This policy could not have been instituted originally without passing university safety policies. Holding a safety assessment of the building after the enaction of the policy is quite a redundant process because this had to be done for it to be implemented in the first place.”
But not all of the unexpected consequences are negative.
The debate over the new policy has cultivated a conversation between those working to have their voices heard — a development that administrators like Sax hope will carry over to future years.
“When we think about the success of the residential college, we are not seeing it after this year or even next year, but after a generation of students go through it,” Sax said. “(Students) are at the university for a limited amount of time. To be told that this is a long-term project, that is when there becomes a disconnect in the conversation.”
The residential college of West AJ will have to collectively decide what kind of community it wants and whether one policy or another is ideal for achieving the goals of the community. According to administrators, this is part of the inner-workings and appeals of the residential college model.
“The (initial) planning committee loved the idea,” said Shushok. “but now there is a real community which must make the decision if it is to be changed.”
For Shushok, community was the initial point of the policy, and so it will take community to get the policy withdrawn.
“The single entry concept is a method to practically and symbolically strengthen engagement and commitment to one another,” Shushok said. “I like the idea very much, but I am not a member of the residential college of West Ambler Johnston.”
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