Values-Based College: Why Not Enforce Values in Every Underclassmen Dorm?

by The Cowl Editor on November 14, 2019


by Erin Garvey ’22

Opinion Staff

You are planning what you are going to do for the night and your friend suggests going to hang out with friends in St. Joseph Hall. At the same time, your other friend suggests going to see friends in Meagher Hall. How do you decide where to go? Does the fact that one building has parietals and the other building does not factor into the matter? For most, yes, it affects not only their social activities, but also their daily lives.

Parietals are widely known on our campus and are  generally perceived as a negative aspect of campus life.  This rule especially applies to freshmen, because parietals are enforced in almost every freshman dorm on campus. But what happens if you are placed in St. Joe’s, which houses freshmen and sophomore boys, and where parietals are not enforced? Or on the other hand, how does it impact a sophomore girl who lives in Meagher, the only sophomore/freshman building on campus with enforced parietals?

When Meagher resident Lizzy Madden ’22 was asked how she felt about enforced parietals, she responded,  “My building feels like I am going through freshman year all over again. I was super excited about the living arrangements sophomore year because that would be something we would no longer have to deal with. However, living in Meagher has given me the same feeling as freshman year which is having a negative impact on my living situation.” 

When asked how she thinks the building dynamic would change if parietals were not enforced, Madden answered, “I think it would feel more like the other sophomore residence halls since they have the freedom to have anyone in their room at any time. However, I think the dynamic could have the potential of being more lively. I think this because there could be more people coming in and out of the building during any point of the night and day without having to sign in or leave by a certain time.”

Providence College is known for its religious influences throughout the campus and enforces its religious-based values throughout the student body. So why is it that the parietal values are not being enforced in every building? It might be more expensive or require more able bodies to enforce these values in some buildings, but isn’t it worth it? Shouldn’t PC want to enforce all their values in every aspect of the campus and not just some?

When approached, St. Joe’s Resident Assistant Noah Kozub ’22  stated his opinion about the parietals in his building. “On paper, Joe’s has parietals, but they are quite hard to enforce considering there is no door monitor in the building. I’m not sure how this dynamic affects each person in the building, but as an RA and a former Joe’s resident, I can say this about the Joe’s community: Joe’s houses some of the youngest students on campus, and yet, amid its parietal situation, it is known as the calmest and tightest knit community of all the freshman male residence halls. I think this happy paradox speaks to the consciences of its residents, and the intercession of the hall’s patron, St. Joseph. Our residents are known as the ‘Gentlemen of St. Joe’s,’ and this sentiment has prevailed for years. In saying this, I don’t mean to detract from strict parietal policies, which I believe are a good value and would ultimately benefit both the men who live in Joe’s and the women who come to visit the building.”

So whose opinion do we take more into consideration? Do we try to appease the residents and make it equal among the whole student population? But how do we appease them, by getting rid of parietals in any buildings where sophomores reside or the opposite: enforce parietals in every building that freshmen reside in?

This is a tough decision to make and it needs to be decided by the leaders in Residence Life who have the resources and answers to most questions. But when making their final decision, they need to consider this last question. If we are such a values-based school, then is it not worth it to enforce the same values in every freshman building?