The Log Investigates: Changes to Dorm Visitation Policy

Edward Park '23, Contributor

With national conversations about racial discrimination and inequality taking center stage in the past year, Loomis Chaffee has undertaken several initiatives to create a more inclusive and equity-focused community. This academic year, Loomis successfully opened its first all-gender living and learning community on the third floor of Flagg Hall. Upon the institution of the all-gender floor, a conversation was initiated by Deans on potentially changing dorm visitation policies to ensure that the policies are inclusive of all students.

Initially, the conversations started among Deans, but students and faculty of the Dorm Life committee were later invited into the dialogue to offer their opinions. Although these discussions began in the spring of 2020, they were pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recently, the dorm visitation policy topic has been revisited in one of the Dorm Life committee’s monthly meetings. “We want to engage in this conversation topic because the Dorm Life committee’s goal is to enhance the on-campus living experience for all students,” Simone Molaes ‘21, a student on the Dorm Life committee, said. “While doing so, the themes of diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the core, making for a safe and healthy environment for all students regardless of race, gender, sexuality, or socioeconomic status.”

When considering changing dorm visitation policies, the Dorm Life committee not only considers the opinions of the committee’s members but also refers to the policies of peer schools. For some of Loomis’s peer schools, such as Choate Rosemary Hall and The Hotchkiss School, gender-inclusive dorms and communities are in their second year after a year of running a pilot program.

Currently, the Dorm Life committee has broken into smaller groups to discuss the current visitation policies and plans on meeting a few times in the Winter Term to potentially change some policies.

“It is really too early in the process to list potential, if there are any, changes,” Dean Donegan said when asked about what the potential changes might be. “There has not been deep debate as of yet, however. I don’t want to speculate on what the different groups will come up with.”

Moving forward, the committee does hope to implement any potential changes to the dorm visitation policies in the near future.

“We hope to review the policies this winter and present some possible ideas or changes to faculty in the spring,” Dean Matzkin said. “If any changes will be made to the policies, it will most likely be implemented for the 2021-2022 school year.