Editorial: Hosting guests responsibly

The College has approved a new policy for students who host large numbers of visitors on campus, partially in response to the damage done to dorms by a number of visitors during the WUFO Purple Valley tournament a few weeks ago. Although the new rules won’t have any bearing on the kinds of visitors most students host – one or two family members or friends from home – they serve as a signal that hosting non-students on campus entails responsibility. Problems that visitors have caused in the past have resulted in major fees to dorm residents or the damage or theft of their personal property, and hosting students should take preemptive measures to ensure that their guests understand the high bar of respect for others’ property that we expect at Williams from ourselves and our visitors.

Each house on campus has an amount of money allotted to cover routine fix-ups, but that money is never enough to cover serious damages caused by debauchery. It is prudent to remember that problems caused by anyone who does not take the blame – be that person a visitor from another dorm or outside the College entirely – get paid for by the residents of that particular house. As hosts to friends from across the quad or across the world, we should all make sure to keep an eye on our communal spaces and property because it is our neighbors who may have to pick up the tab for the damages that visitors inflict. As residents, in dorms or other public spaces, students should also be more cautious about leaving their belongings out. Although most property is safe most of the time, our campus isn’t as perfectly secure as its bucolic setting may make it seen, and we’d all benefit to take heed of that fact.

For instance, there has been a rash of bike thefts on campus recently, with accompanying speculation that that the thieves are not members of the College community at all. Although the perpetrators aren’t definitely known in this specific instance, there have been numerous incidents of theft in the past that were committed by visitors to campus hosted by students. Although we cannot control those that prey on the College without any connection to it, we should all be careful that at least the visitors we personally bring to campus know and respect our neighbors’ property.

With Homecoming this weekend, hundreds of alumni and friends will descend onto campus, many of them being housed by current students in dorms. If students take it upon themselves to defend the integrity of their personal belongings and communal spaces, then we can all have a responsible weekend of celebration.