Last week, administration announced sweeping reforms. Next fall, there will be no curfew for sophomores, juniors and seniors, abolishing a tenet of student life since the founding of the university. The change will be accompanied by increased video surveillance and security.
Next year will also introduce a 15 percent cost decrease for double occupancy rooms. Co-ed residence hall visitation will occur more regularly throughout the semester on weeknights.
Dr. Daniel Guajardo, Dean of Student Life, said there will likely be different I.D.’s for freshman and upperclassmen. Director of Security Gerald Isaacs said extra security cameras will be implemented this summer to keep campus safe.
“We will be using more and more technology to better accomplish our mission,” said Isaacs. “As for this summer we are focusing on adding additional lighting and video surveillance across campus. It can’t be overemphasized that our entire community shares in campus safety responsibilities.”
Guajardo said these changes that discard or modify campus policies that go back 49 years were largely due to student opinions.
“It starts with us listening to our student body and listening to their concerns, their likes, their dislikes and ideas,” he said. “We always want [the students] to feel like they are a stakeholder, to feel like [administration] is listening to [the students]. We really feel these are great changes for our student body, and we really feel that we have some great young people here.”
Administration asked specific student leadership groups for suggestions, held focus groups and eventually asked each residential floor three questions: What do you like or enjoy about campus life? What can we improve on? What suggestions or ideas do you have that could make campus life better?
The common suggestions were then evaluated by the student life staff and presented to the president, the president’s cabinet and board of trustees.
“What we in student life are trying to promote is purpose and experience with the students, the purpose being the mission and vision of ORU’s core values…and trying to put a positive experience in their hands,” Guajardo said.
Although the changes are definite, the way in which they may be implemented is still somewhat undecided and is awaiting confirmation. What is not uncertain is the focus on personal responsibility that comes with the campus changes.
Whether it’s the elimination of curfew or opportunities for co-ed visitation during the week, administration is putting emphasis on accountability.
“This is freedom with responsibility. This is a process where our students are learning to become who they are going to be as adults and what they believe in,” said Guajardo. “We certainly want to not just help them along their journey, but we also need to give them responsibilities along their journey to help them become who God wants them to be—to hear God’s voice and change their world.”