Commuters Welcomed Back, but Not as Guests

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Published September 27, 2021
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The Montclarion
Sarah Tufts | The Montclarion

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Montclair State University has implemented rules to help protect students and faculty. A lot of the rules and regulations in place are there to keep us safe, but some of them seem contradictory.

Resident students are allowed to have two guests at a time, however, these guests can only be other residents. Commuter students are not allowed to enter the dorm buildings at all, even though they also attend Montclair State. This does not make much sense at all, seeing as they’re part of the community and may have friends who live on campus.

Commuters make up more than half of this school, and Montclair State is constantly hosting events to make them feel included. However, rules like these only make them feel like outcasts and make this “community” feel divided.

It would be understandable if just regular outside guests like family and friends were not allowed in the dorms, but commuter students are frequently on campus, just like residents. When students try to voice their opinions on this, they are constantly being shut down by Residence Life and told these policies are in place for a reason. But what exactly is the reason?

Only two guests are allowed per resident inside of a dorm and there is no current limit for inside gatherings in New Jersey. Obviously, there is not going to be a huge gathering inside of a dorm room, but two commuter students aren’t going to infect anyone they could not potentially infect in their classes. If Montclair State is truly concerned about commuters as a source of potential COVID-19 outbreaks, it seems strange to permit them access to all other campus buildings save residence halls.

Commuter and resident students are allowed to be in the same classes, campus events and dining halls, but they’re not allowed to be inside the residence halls together. What’s the difference between hanging out with friends inside a dorm room or being in Blanton Plaza? Apparently, it is significant, but to students, it doesn’t make any sense.

There may be some resident students who only have friends who are commuters, and they deserve to have their friends from school in their dorm to hang out with them. Whether they have two residents or two commuter students in their dorm, there is no difference. Anyone can spread the virus, and commuters should not be excluded the way they are.

Before the start of the fall semester, Montclair State mandated that students and faculty get the COVID-19 vaccine to ensure the safety of everyone on campus. If the majority of people on campus are vaccinated, then there should not be as much concern as there is about commuter students coming into the dorm buildings.

Montclair State students have been following the protocols put in place to keep themselves and others safe. The school should start giving some normalcy back to students and allowing commuters to come in as residence hall guests.

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