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Return of Dorm Rules Would Increase Student Safety

October 6th, 2008 · No Comments

Why did the mysterious disappearance of VCU college freshman Taylor Behl have to end so sadly? The beautiful young face in the newspaper pictures should have returned safely to her dorm room. Her story should have continued with a college degree, marriage, and the opportunity to grow gracefully older.

Where does the fault lie for this story ending so tragically? Of course we can blame the perpetrator and the fact that society let such a criminal walk the streets of Richmond, VA. Critiques of the case will probably also find reason to blame campus security, city government and even twenty first century familial relationships. I’m not sure changes in those institutions would have saved this child.

What I do believe is that if Taylor Behl had not felt compelled to allow her roommate a private visit with her boyfriend in their dorm room, she would still be alive.

A dorm room is an individual’s dwelling place. It’s the spot a person retires to for privacy, relaxation, sleep, and study. Entertaining a boyfriend in one’s dorm room is a complete violation of the privacy of the individual who shares the room.

Freshman love the freedom they suddenly acquire when home is left behind for an out of town college campus. Should that freedom be so immediate?

In an earlier time dorms were private living spaces. Girls resided in one dorm and boys in another. Opposite sex visits were a violation of the rules. One was free to walk down the hall in hair rollers and nightgown without the possibility of being seen by an interesting male. It was only when a co-ed stepped into the dorm lobby that the outside world was received. Couldn’t that have been a better thing?

I blame the current laxity of college rules for the untimely death of Taylor Behl. She and her roommate were much too young to make an intelligent decision about how the evening would end. Their college should have set the structure for that decision to be a safe one.

We entrust our precious children to their university of choice. Each of those institutions should step forward to ensure that their learning journey is a safe one – even if there are a few rules that they don’t like.

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