Campus Security approves changes to visitor policy

New changes to the temporary Visitor ID Pass (VIP) form have been approved by Campus Safety and Security and will go into effect this week. According to CC Co-President Lizzy Brickley ’10, the changes are slight and are intended to pass some of the accountability of student hosts to their guests, while also promoting conscientiousness of guests staying on campus.

The visitor passes allow guests to have card swipe access to their host’s dormitories for up to 72 hours in exchange for a $20 deposit. Although the old form required student hosts to sign their name in acceptance of liability for their guest’s actions, the tweaked version of the VIP form also requires that visitors sign their own names on the form as well. Students are also now limited to ten registered guests at any one time. “The motivation for that is to defray the liability of the host,” Brickley said. “Hopefully, guests will feel more responsible for their actions.”

Brickley noted that the purpose of the changes is not to target students who bring a couple of friends or family members to campus, but instead the large groups of visitors more often associated with student groups or teams. Brickley also said that a main goal of the changes was to encourage more host groups to use the VIP form, given that, in the case of an incident, the newly required visitor signature shifts some of the blame away from the host alone.

CC came up with the idea for the changes and presented the proposal to Security for review. The changes come on the heels of the Purple Valley tournament sponsored by the Williams Ultimate Frisbee Organization (WUFO), which brought between 450 and 500 visitors to campus on Oct. 16-17 and prompted numerous concerns. Most notable were bio-hazard clean-up damages in Greylock dining hall, where a Purple Valley party took place.

According to Director of Facilities Services Bea Miles, these were the only damages that the College can directly attribute to the tournament, but its future is currently under review by the Dean’s Office and WUFO. “Purple Valley this year had enough things happen to show everybody that the tournament in its current form cannot be sustained,” said Caleb Balderston ’10, co-captain of WUFO. Brickley said that the VIP changes were partly inspired by the tournament weekend, but that the revision of the form is more of a general response to the potential for visitors to cause damage on campus.

Jean Thorndike, director of Security, also affirmed that the changes are the product of general unease about host and visitor liability. “In the residences, a lot of students were concerned about the numbers of visitors and the lack of oversight by student hosts,” Thorndike said.

According to Balderston and Dean Merrill, WUFO and the Dean’s Office are in discussions as to whether the Purple Valley tournament will be permitted again next year. WUFO has proposed to eliminate the party portion of the tournament and to invite only half the number of visitors it hosted this year.

The tournament, which WUFO has hosted since 1978, is the longest-running college Ultimate Frisbee tournament in the country. “There are some delicate feelings around campus about Purple Valley and WUFO, and we’re doing our best to fix that,” Balderston said.

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