Change in front desk attendant hours to come fall 2018


Shavey Ortiz working as a front desk attendent in Schwartz Hall, New Haven, Conn, April 2, 2018. (August Pelliccio).

August PelliccioNews Writer

Southern’s Office of Residence Life plans to cut down the coverage hours of front desk attendants in dormitory halls. Students have varying opinions on whether this idea is safe, and whether the intentions are just.

“There are many different ways you could take this,” said Schwartz Hall Resident Advisor, Jordanne Ellington, “the first thing I would think about is safety.”

Ellington said the policy change would leave the lobby of dorm buildings unattended from 4 a.m. to 4 p.m. She said during this time, students will be able to stay up late, and bring in their friends after nights of partying, without signing them in – a typical university policy.

Marvin Wilson, associate director of housing operations, said this aspect will reflect on the initiative of increased student freedom.

“There’s been some feedback from our students regarding the guest policy,” said Wilson, “feeling the need that they have some independence.”

He said the feedback he has received is that students generally feel that they are responsible enough to be able to handle living on their own. He said students do not want to feel like when they are at home, living under a curfew.

Wilson said the other factors in the conversation included cost and budgeting, as well as an analysis of when the front desk attendants are truly necessary.

Ellington said the angle of budgeting, in regards to this change, would have an adverse effect on those who can work those late hours.

“A lot of residents won’t have jobs anymore,” said Ellington.

Ellington said students who work the 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. shift to do homework, and who do not have time to fit in more traditional hours, will not have the option anymore at all.

She said it is unfortunate that Southern’s budgeting issue will be affecting this area of the residence life program.

Notwithstanding this concern, Wilson said the university provides more hours than necessary for students watching the front doors of residence halls.

“Best practice shows universities across the country don’t really have the level of coverage that we did,” said Wilson, “so it was sort of overkill in terms the amount of coverage.”

The best way to handle this overkill, Wilson said, is to find out a way to scale down these hours of coverage, without compromising the security of the buildings.

“I think the check in, check out process in itself is a big overkill,” said Josh Rosenthal. “I think it is unnecessary.”

Rosenthal, student and Schwartz Hall resident, said the current hours should be cut back, and he said not having a desk attendant after 4 a.m. would not affect his life at all.

“It would make absolutely no difference,” Rosenthal said. “Nobody is coming in at 4 a.m., so there’s no point in having someone there.”

Wilson said this change in university policy is certainly on the horizon, and he and Robert DeMezzo, the director of residence life, are continuing conversation about exactly when the hours will be cut.

“The plan is to have this in place for the new academic year,” said Wilson, “without a doubt.”

Photo Credit: August Pelliccio

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