Visitation Policies at U.S. Catholic Colleges

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Introduction
This report presents the results from a Cardinal Newman Society study of the visitation policies in student residences at residential Catholic colleges, not including seminaries, in the United States.[1]  Data used in the report was collected during the summer of 2015.

The report primarily evaluates visitation hours—the times during which colleges permit students of the opposite sex to be present in student bedrooms (including single-room residences) on campus.  The report also presents information on other residence life policies that regulate the interaction between male and female students in campus residences.  The report considers the policies of Catholic institutions and then compares policies of select Catholic and other Christian colleges.

In the first part of the report, it is found that the vast majority of Catholic colleges have residence life policies that permit students of the opposite sex to visit each other in bedrooms until early morning hours, behind closed doors.  More than one quarter of the Catholic colleges permit students to stay overnight in an opposite-sex bedroom at least one night a week.  Very few Catholic colleges prohibit opposite-sex visitation entirely.  About a third of Catholic colleges have policies that explicitly forbid sexual intimacy in campus residences.  The report also explores additional policies that regulate student behavior during visitation times, including open-door rules.

In the second part of the study, a sample of Catholic and other Christian colleges was selected in order to compare visitation policies.  The selected non-Catholic Christian colleges have substantially more limited opposite-sex visitation hours than their Catholic counterparts and are stricter about prohibiting sexual intimacy in residences.  Many of the selected Catholic institutions are ambiguous in their policies regarding sexual intimacy.

Methodology

For the first part of this report, the researcher attempted to review policies regarding opposite-sex visitation at all residential Catholic colleges in the United States.  Policies were identified for 191 Catholic colleges, but no policies were found for three Catholic colleges.[2]  Another ten Catholic colleges were nonresidential and therefore not included in the study.[3]  The visitation hours for all Catholic colleges are included in Appendix A at the end of this report.

For the second part of the report, the researcher compared a sample of 40 Catholic colleges affiliated with the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) and 40 non-Catholic Christian colleges affiliated with the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).  For a rough parity between samples, they include only institutions that were rated in the U.S. News & World Report Best College Rankings and Lists in 2015.[4]  For both Catholic and other Christian institutions, six were selected from the U.S. News “National Universities Rankings,” six from the “National Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings,” four from each of the four “Regional Universities Rankings,” and three from each of the four “Regional Colleges Rankings.”  The highest-ranked Catholic and other Christian colleges in each category were selected; however, some were excluded and replaced by other colleges, because no visitation information could be found.  The samples do not allow for a strictly equivalent comparison, but nevertheless they are of interest because of their similarities in secular rankings and yet substantial differences with regard to visitation policies. The visitation hours for the sample of Catholic and other Christian colleges are included in Appendix B at the end of this report.

Information included in this report was collected during the summer of 2015 from various resources posted online by the colleges.  Information was also collected through direct communication with some of the colleges by email and phone when there was insufficient data online.  Online sources include, but are not limited to, student handbooks, student life or residence life handbooks, community standards pages and residence life information pages.  The most recent official college documents which could be found at the time of the study were used.

Some institutions have stricter policies for freshmen than for other students.  There is also variation in the visitation hours among different residences at some colleges.  In such instances, the most relaxed hours for undergraduate students were recorded.  Some institutions that set specific hours for visitation were reported to have open visitation due to the fact that they permit overnight opposite-sex visitation under certain circumstances.  And some institutions that prohibit overnight opposite-sex visitation do not provide any time limits to visitation.  These instances were reported as open visitation.

The report focuses on visitation hours for traditional campus residences.  Some colleges have more relaxed visitation hours for students in campus apartments, houses, and townhomes with the rationale that such living arrangements include areas for visitors that are not bedrooms.  Because the emphasis of this report is on bedroom visitation, the policies for such residences were generally not used for analysis in the first part of the report.

Similarly, some colleges that do not permit opposite-sex visitation do allow for common area visitation in residence halls.  Such common area hours were not taken into consideration in this report, which is focused on bedroom visitation.  The exception to this rule is when common area hours are set by a college, but the decision on visitation hour limits for bedrooms is left up to students.  In these cases, the report uses the common area hours to determine the latest visitation hours in the bedrooms.  These instances are not considered to have “open” visitation due to the fact that common area hours were always found to be more relaxed or equal to bedroom hours.

Institutions that rarely permit opposite-sex visitation during special open house events under close supervision are reported here as not allowing visitation.

The main categories of visitation hours utilized in this report are “Weekday Nights” (Monday through Thursday) and “Weekend Nights” (Friday and Saturday).  Some colleges have opposite-sex visitation hours on only certain days of the week, but these are recorded as a college’s weekday or weekend policy, as appropriate.  If the hours vary, the latest hour is recorded.

In the section considering policies on sexual intimacy in the first part of this report, only those policies that explicitly prohibit sexual activity were quantified.  Other policies not recorded include those prohibiting cohabitation and overnight visits of the opposite sex, but without explicitly proscribing sexual intimacy.  As the purview of this report is to gather specific visitation hours and definite rules regarding sexual intimacy, those policies not explicitly forbidding sexual intimacy were not considered in the analysis.

The charts in this report round down visitation end times to the closest hour.

The researcher took care to ensure accuracy and completeness of the information recorded but acknowledges the possibility of some mistakes or omissions given the amount of data involved in the research.  If any errors are found or reported, they will be corrected in the online version of this report.

Catholic College and University Visitation Policies

Overview

Overall, 182 (95 percent) of the 190 residential Catholic colleges studied permit opposite-sex visitation at some time during the week.  Of these, only a handful have open-door policies.  About one-third of the colleges have policies expressly prohibiting sexual intimacy in student residences.

Weekend Night Visitation

Fifty-four Catholic colleges (28 percent) have “open” hours on weekend nights (Friday and Saturday), meaning that opposite-sex students can stay in student bedrooms without time limits.  Forty-nine (26 percent) permit visitation without time limits on both weekend and weekday nights.  Some colleges (39 or 21 percent) do not set any hour limits to visitation on weekends; nine of these (5 percent) leave it up to students to determine, meaning that students are free to establish with their roommates—by means of a residence contract or other agreement—the hours during which opposite-sex guests are permitted.  And some (13 or 7 percent) have unlimited opposite-sex visitation for only some students, usually upper-classmen or seniors.  All of these instances[5] are defined as “open” visitation for this report.[6]
There are a few examples of open visitation that should be mentioned.  Edgewood College specifies a policy that permits “Weekend Opposite Sex/Intimate Partner Visitation Hours.”  Edgewood states, “All students are eligible to have 24-hour weekend visitation of guests.  Visitation hours in which members of the opposite sex and same-sex intimate partners are permitted are: Weekend visitation hours begin 8:00 a.m. Friday and run through 11:00 p.m. Sunday.”[7]

A few colleges were considered to have open visitation in light of exceptions made to other standard policies. Examples include La Salle University, which sets opposite-sex visitation hours on weekends.  However, La Salle permits overnight visitation in some residence halls “in recognition of such residences’ structural designs and the possibility of legitimate needs for group study,” although it is discouraged.[8] The College of New Rochelle sets opposite-sex visitation limits for all students, but says, “The only exception in Angela Hall is that seniors or those over age 23 may have overnight guests of the opposite sex.”[9]  Similarly, St. Mary’s College in Indiana, which is an all-female college, has visitation hour limits and permits only female overnight guests, with the exception of “Regina South Tower, where male guests may stay over night.”[10]  Regina South Tower is a residence hall for senior students with one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom residences.  And Seton Hall University sets hours for visitation, but also states that students “can co-host with someone of the opposite gender if you wish to host someone of the opposite gender.  Your co-host and guest must remain with you at all times.”[11]

Eight colleges (5 percent) do not permit any opposite-sex visitation in student residences on weekends.

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Of the remaining colleges, the median latest visitation hour is 2:00 a.m.  Nearly half of the Catholic colleges studied (91 or 48 percent) end weekend visitation in the 2:00 a.m. hour.  A few have later hours: two (1 percent) end visitation at 4:00 a.m., while nine (5 percent) end visitation in the 3:00 a.m. hour.  Fourteen colleges (7 percent) end visitation in the 1:00 a.m. hour, 10 (5 percent) end visitation at midnight, one (.5 percent) ends visitation at 11:00 p.m., and another (.5 percent) ends visitation at 10:00 p.m.

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Exhibit C – Colleges with Weekend Night Visitation Ending between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m.
College Visitation Until
Alvernia University 3:00 AM
College of Saint Mary 3:00 AM
Creighton University 3:00 AM
DeSales University 3:00 AM
D’Youville College 3:00 AM
Fordham University 3:30 AM
Mount Saint Mary College 3:00 AM
St. John’s University (NY) 3:00 AM
St. Louis University 4:00 AM
University of Scranton 3:00 AM
Xavier University of Louisiana 4:00 AM

A few Catholic colleges begin weekend visitation hours in the late afternoon or evening instead of the morning as is typical, thereby reducing the total number of hours in which opposite-sex visitation is permitted.  For example, Ave Maria University[12] permits visitation between 6:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. on weekend nights, and the Franciscan University of Steubenville[13] permits visitation between 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on weekend nights.  As noted below, both colleges also have “open-door” policies during visitation hours.

Weekday Night Visitation

Forty-nine Catholic colleges (26 percent) were found to have open visitation hours on weekday nights (Monday through Thursday).  Ten (5 percent) do not permit any opposite-sex visitation in student residences on weekday nights.

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Of the remaining Catholic colleges, the median latest visitation hour is midnight.  Seventy-one of the colleges (37 percent) have visitation hours ending in the 12:00 a.m. hour, 22 (12 percent) in the 1:00 a.m. hour, 23 (12 percent) at 2:00 a.m., and two (1 percent) in the 3:00 a.m. hour.  Some colleges end visitation hours before midnight, with nine (5 percent) ending at 11:00 p.m., three (2 percent) ending at 10:00 p.m., and one (.5 percent) ending at 9:00 p.m.

chart-4

Open-Door Policies

Of the 190 Catholic colleges studied for this report, five (3 percent) have some form of an open-door policy together with visitation hours.  Such policies require that doors remain fully or partly open when members of the opposite sex are present in student residences.

For example, the University of Dallas[14] and St. Gregory’s University[15] stipulate that the bolts on doors must remain open, thus preventing locked doors and total privacy.  Ave Maria University requires that doors be “propped open.”[16]  The Franciscan University of Steubenville requires residence doors to be “open.”[17]  And St. Martin’s University requires doors to be open only during the last few hours of visitation each night.[18]

Open-door policies coincide with relatively limited visitation hours at Ave Maria University, the Franciscan University of Steubenville, and the University of Dallas.  The visitation hours at St. Gregory’s University and St. Martin’s University are about on par with most other Catholic colleges.

Policies on Sexual Intimacy and Other Behavior in Residences

About one third of the Catholic colleges (60 or 32 percent) were found to have some form of a policy explicitly prohibiting sexual intimacy on campus.  Some colleges (40 or 21 percent) make clear that sexual intimacy is reserved for marriage.  Some (52 or 27 percent) mention Catholic teaching or Catholic identity language while prohibiting sexual intimacy.  Thirteen (7 percent) prohibit “overnight visits” or “cohabitation” for the purpose of sexual activity, but do not specify that sexual intimacy is also forbidden at other times of the day.  Eight (4 percent) prohibit sexual “overnight visits” or “cohabitation” while also mentioning Catholic teaching or Catholic identity language in support of the policy, but do not specify that sexual intimacy is also forbidden at other times of the day.

Of the eight Catholic colleges that prohibit opposite-sex visitation in residences, half of them—Aquinas College in Tennessee, Christendom College, Northeast Catholic College, and John Paul the Great Catholic University—also have policies explicitly prohibiting sexual intimacy.  For those that do not explicitly prohibit sexual intimacy, the point may be moot as opposite-sex visitation is already forbidden.

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Visitation Policies at Catholic and Other Christian Colleges

Overview

The second part of this report is based on a comparison of the visitation policies at 40 members of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) and 40 members and affiliates of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) that are included in U.S. News and World Report’s 2015 Best College Rankings and Lists.  See the “Methodology” section on page 2 for details on how the colleges were selected.

The comparison is interesting, because although most Christian sects share similar beliefs about the immorality of sexual activity outside of marriage, the CCCU colleges studied have more limited visitation hours than the Catholic colleges.  Many of the Catholic colleges do not set limits on how late students of the opposite sex may visit student bedrooms, while none of the CCCU colleges was found to have open visiting hours.  The most common latest time that the Catholic colleges permit opposite-sex visitation is 2:00 a.m.; the most common latest time among the CCCU colleges is midnight.

Many of the CCCU colleges and one of the Catholic colleges have other policies in place related to opposite-sex visitation.  These include open-door and open-bolt policies and lights-on rules.  Whereas most colleges in both sets have at least some coed residence halls for students, more than half the Catholic colleges and just five of the CCCU colleges offer only coed halls without single-sex options.

Policies, teachings, and regulations related to sexual intimacy on campus were compared between the CCCU and Catholic colleges.  A greater number of the CCCU institutions studied have some sort of a statement that forbids premarital sexual intimacy.  Colleges of both types that prohibit sex on campus make reference to their mission and/or identity to support the policy.  Many Catholic colleges reference “cohabitation” or overnight visits in their policies regulating student behavior in the residences, but often the terms are used ambiguously and do not explicitly prohibit sexual intimacy in student residences.  Some do include Catholic teaching and prohibitions on sexual intimacy in their language.

Weekend Night Visitation

Among the 40 Catholic colleges studied, 11 (28 percent) have open visitation hours in primary campus residence halls on weekend nights (Friday and Saturday).  Two (5 percent) end their weekend visitation hours in the 3 a.m. hour, more than half (21 or 53 percent) end at 2:00 a.m., two (5 percent) end in the 1:00 a.m. hour, two (5 percent) end at midnight, and just two (5 percent) allow no opposite-sex visitation on weekend nights.

By contrast, none of the 40 CCCU colleges studied has open visitation hours on weekend nights.  Two (5 percent) end their hours at 2:00 a.m., one quarter (10 or 25 percent) end at 1:00 a.m., 14 (35 percent) end at midnight, six (15 percent) conclude in the 11:00 p.m. hour, and one (3 percent) ends visitation in the 10:00 p.m. hour.  Seven of the CCCU colleges (18 percent) allow no opposite-sex visitation on weekend nights.

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Weekday Night Visitation

Among the Catholic colleges, 11 (28 percent) have open visitation hours on weekday nights (Monday through Thursday).  One college ends its visitation hours at 3:30 a.m. on weekday nights, four (10 percent) end at 2:00 a.m., six (15 percent) end in the 1:00 a.m. hour, 15 (38 percent) end at midnight, and one ends at 11:00 p.m.  Two (5 percent) do not allow opposite-sex visitation hours on weekday nights.

For the CCCU colleges, none of the institutions studied have open visitation hours on weekday nights.  One CCCU college (3 percent) ends weekday night visitation hours at 2:00 a.m., another (3 percent) ends at 1:00 a.m., seven (18 percent) end in the 12:00 a.m. hour, eight (20 percent) end in the 11:00 p.m. hour, and 15 (38 percent) end in the 10:00 p.m. hour.  Eight CCCU colleges (20 percent) do not allow opposite-sex visitation on weekday nights.

chart-7

Sunday Night Visitation

Ten of the Catholic colleges (25 percent) have open visitation hours on Sunday nights.  One Catholic college (3 percent) ends visitation hours in the 3:00 a.m. hour, four (10 percent) end at 2:00 a.m., six (15 percent) end at 1:00 a.m., 15 (38 percent) end at midnight, one (3 percent) ends at 11:00 p.m., and one (3 percent) ends at 8:00 p.m.  Two of the Catholic colleges (5 percent) do not permit opposite-sex visitation on Sunday nights.

One of the CCCU colleges studied (3 percent) ends visitation hours on Sunday nights at 2:00 a.m., another (3 percent) ends at 1:00 a.m., nine (23 percent) end in the 12:00 a.m. hour, six (15 percent) end in the 11:00 p.m. hour, eight (20 percent) end in the 10:00 p.m. hour, two (5 percent) end at 9:00 p.m., two (5 percent) end at 8:00 p.m., and two (5 percent) end at 5:00 p.m.  Nine of the CCCU colleges (23 percent) do not allow opposite-sex visitation hours on Sunday nights, and none have open visitation hours.

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Visitation More Limited for Freshmen

A few of the institutions studied were also found to have stricter visitation hour rules for first-year students, including three Catholic colleges (8 percent) and one CCCU college (3 percent).

Among the Catholic colleges, Loyola University New Orleans gives first-year students a visitation period ending at midnight seven days a week prior to completing their “Roommate Agreement” form.  Upper-class students do not have such a restriction.[19]

At Villanova University, first-year students are limited to midnight on weekday nights and 2:00 a.m. on weekend nights, but upperclassmen have open visitation seven days a week.[20]

Similarly, Wheeling Jesuit University ends first-year student visitation at midnight on weekday nights and 2:00 a.m. on weekend nights, but grants upperclassmen a 2:00 a.m. limit on weekday nights and 24-hour visitation on weekends.  Wheeling Jesuit gives several exceptions that can be made to its upperclassmen weekday visitation policy, so the University is listed as “open” in Appendix B of the report.[21]

Messiah College, a CCCU member, limits both first-year and upper-class students to visitation ending at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday, 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday and 1:00 a.m. on weekend nights.  Messiah grants upperclassmen an additional night of visitation on Monday until 10:00 p.m.[22]

Students Set Visitation Hours

Another way some (4 or 10 percent) of the Catholic colleges address opposite-sex visitation on campus is by allowing students in the same rooms, floors, or wings in residence halls to decide on their own visitation hours.  None of the CCCU colleges in the study allow this.

For the purposes of this study, colleges that allow students to set their own hours are considered to have open visitation policies when there is no limit set for them.  Where students are permitted to set their own hours within a college-established limit, the latest end hour is reported.

A residence life official at Santa Clara University told us, “Standard policy is that students and their roommate(s) set their own visiting hours in the residence halls, and the University doesn’t have gender-specific restrictions.”

Loyola University New Orleans permits upperclassmen to have open visiting hours, but it limits first-year students to visiting hours ending at midnight until they “have completed and reviewed their Roommate Agreement with a Residential Life staff member.”[23]

The College of St. Benedict in Collegeville, Minn., has typical visitation hours until midnight on weekday nights and until 2:00 a.m. on weekend nights.  However, it “expects” that roommates “determine what hours you wish to host” visitors of the opposite sex.[24]  Villanova also permits freshmen to set visiting hours by means of roommate living agreements, as long as they are within the pre-set limits imposed by the University.

Typically, colleges require students to respect the wishes of their roommates when bringing visitors into the residence.  For instance, both St. Francis College in New York and Stonehill College have open visitation.  Stonehill stipulates, “Whether during the day or overnight, guests are only permitted to be in that individual residence hall room with the consent of a resident’s roommate(s).”[25]  And St. Francis College says, “In consideration to the rights of roommates and other residents, there are limits to the duration and frequency of such visits. A resident may have only one overnight guest at any given time.”[26]

Visitation in Campus Apartments, Townhomes, and Houses

Some universities offer students alternative residence options in apartments, townhomes, and houses on campus.  These options are more prevalent at the 40 CCCU colleges than at the 40 Catholic colleges studied.  Apartments, townhomes, and houses on campus are typically reserved for upper-class students.  In general, visitation hours were found to be more relaxed in these types of living arrangements.

Only three of the Catholic colleges studied offer students on-campus living options in apartments, townhomes, and/or houses.  Two (5 percent) end opposite-sex visiting hours at 2:00 a.m., and one (3 percent) has open visiting hours.

Exhibit J – Catholic College Apartments, Townhomes and Houses Visitation Hour End Times
Catholic College Weekend Nights Weekday Nights Sunday Nights
Belmont Abbey College 2:00 AM 2:00 AM 2:00 AM
University of San Diego 2:00 AM 2:00 AM 2:00 AM
Rockhurst University open open open

At the CCCU colleges, 14 offer campus residential options in apartments, townhomes, and/or houses.  On weekend nights, one (3 percent) has completely open visitation hours, three (8 percent) end their hours at 2:00 a.m., five (13 percent) end at 1:00 a.m., two (5 percent) end at midnight, and three (8 percent) end at 11:00 p.m.  On weekday nights, one (3 percent) has open hours, two (5 percent) end at 2:00 a.m., one (3 percent) ends at 1:00 a.m., four (10 percent) end at midnight, and six (15 percent) end at 11:00 p.m.  On Sunday nights, one (3 percent) has open hours, two (5 percent) end at 2:00 a.m., one (3 percent) ends at 1:00 a.m., five (13 percent) end at midnight, and four (10 percent) end at 11:00 p.m.

Exhibit K – CCCU College Apartments, Townhomes and Houses Visitation Hour End Times
CCCU College Weekend Nights Weekday Nights Sunday Nights
Gordon College 12:00 AM 11:00 PM 11:00 PM
Trevecca Nazarene U. 12:00 AM 11:00 PM 12:00 AM
Azusa Pacific Univ. 1:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM
Biola University 1:00 AM 11:00 PM
John Brown University 1:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM
Pepperdine University 1:00 AM 1:00 AM 1:00 AM
Spring Arbor Univ. 1:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM
Baylor University 2:00 AM 2:00 AM 2:00 AM
George Fox University 2:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM
Wheaton College 2:00 AM 2:00 AM 2:00 AM
Cairn University 11:00 PM 11:00 PM 11:00 PM
LeTourneau University 11:00 PM 11:00 PM 11:00 PM
Univ. of Valley Forge 11:00 PM 11:00 PM 11:00 PM
Seattle Pacific Univ. open open open

 

Open-Door/Open-Bolt Policies

Only one of the Catholic colleges (3 percent) was found to have an open-door or open-bolt policy for opposite-sex visitation. By contrast, more than half (21 or 53 percent) of the CCCU colleges have open-door or open-bolt policies.  Appendix C lists the colleges with this policy.

Lights-On Policy

Eleven of the CCCU colleges studied (28 percent) have lights-on policies.  Most of the institutions that implement this policy do so in addition to an open-door rule.  Typically, the lights in a student bedroom are required to be left at least partially on, so that the occupants present during opposite-sex visitation are visible from outside the room.

None of the 40 Catholic colleges studied implements this policy.

Single-Sex Residences

Eight of the Catholic colleges (20 percent) and 13 of the CCCU colleges (33 percent) studied have only single-sex residence halls on campus.  Eight Catholic colleges (20 percent) and 17 CCCU colleges (43 percent) have both single-sex and coed halls on campus.  Twenty-one Catholic colleges (53 percent) and five CCCU colleges (13 percent) have only coed residences.[27]

For both Catholic and CCCU colleges with only single-sex residences, it was found that they have roughly the same kind of opposite-sex visitation policies as the rest of the institutions studied.  Even when considering together institutions with only single-sex residences and those with both single-sex and coed residences, there is still no noteworthy difference in average visitation hours when compared to all institutions.

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Policies and Regulations on Sexual Intimacy

Several of the institutions studied have varying forms of prohibitions on sexual intimacy.  Some colleges specify that they prohibit pre-marital sex, and some identify specific forms of sexual intimacy that are prohibited.  Others say instead that “cohabitation” is against college policy.  Only the colleges that specifically disallow sexual intimacy were considered by this study to have a sexual intimacy prohibition in place. Aside from assessing prohibitions on sexual intimacy, this section of the report is based on general observations and is not quantified.

Eleven of the Catholic colleges studied (28 percent) provide some sort of official statement that sexual intimacy is reserved for marriage and/or is inappropriate among students.  Thirty of the CCCU colleges (75 percent) have such language in place.

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Regardless of where they fall on the spectrum of opposite-sex visitation hours, many institutions make reference to their mission or religious identity when they state policies prohibiting premarital sexual relations on campus.  The Catholic colleges that do so tend to make reference to Catholic teaching or tradition.  The CCCU colleges with such policies typically refer to “biblical” teaching or make reference to specific Scripture verses prohibiting sexual intimacy before marriage.

Catholic examples include:

  • Benedictine College states that it is “committed to the teachings and moral values of the Catholic Church, including the belief that human sexuality… is to be genitally expressed only in a monogamous heterosexual relationship of lasting fidelity in marriage.”[28]
  • Gregory’s University states, “Contrary to the pervasive opinion of secular culture that views casual sexual activity among unmarried persons to be the norm, St. Gregory’s University affirms the Church’s teaching that the rightful context for sexual activity lies exclusively within the union of sacramental marriage.”[29]
  • The University of Notre Dame says that it “embraces the Catholic Church’s teaching that a genuine and complete expression of love through sex requires a commitment to a total living and sharing together of two persons in marriage.” Notre Dame further states that students “who engage in sexual union outside of marriage may be subject to a referral to the University Conduct Process.”[30]
  • Villanova University cites Catholic teaching and states that “a genuine and complete expression of love through sexual union requires a commitment to living and sharing of two persons in marriage.” And Villanova says that it “reserves the right to take action under the Code of Student Conduct for students found in violation of this policy.”[31]
  • Xavier University in Ohio “draws to the attention of all its members the traditional and wise Catholic moral teaching that properly locates sexual activity within the relationship of a man and a woman united for life through marriage as husband and wife.” Xavier further states that its religious identity “impels us to recognize the norm of chastity for everyone, whether homosexual or heterosexual.”[32]

CCCU institutions that make reference to their missions or values while advancing policies regarding sexual intimacy include:

  • Baylor University’s policy states that it “will be guided by the biblical understanding that human sexuality is a gift from God and that physical sexual intimacy is to be expressed in the context of marital fidelity.”[33]
  • George Fox University cites Scripture and states “only marriage between a man and a woman is God’s intention for the joyful fulfillment of sexual intimacy,” and “Sexual behaviors outside of this context are inconsistent with God’s teaching.”[34]
  • Oklahoma Wesleyan University forbids students from engaging “in any behavior that promotes, celebrates, or advertises sexual deviancy or a sexual identity outside of the scriptural expectation of sexuality.” The University affirms “the exemplar and standard of heterosexual monogamy within the context of marriage.”[35]
  • Wheaton College states that it upholds “a biblical sexual ethic that reserves consenting intimate sexual expression within a marriage between a man and a woman.”[36]

Many of the CCCU colleges studied go beyond only specifying that sexual intimacy should be reserved for marriage and also include language prohibiting other forms of sexual activity and related practices.  For example, The Master’s College cites several Scripture verses, states that sexual intimacy is reserved for marriage, and includes the language, “Any form of sexual immorality such as pornography, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, is sinful and outside of God’s design for sexual intimacy (Lev 18:1-30; Romans 1:18-29).”[37]

Dordt College has a similar policy and says, “the college firmly holds to the biblical teaching that premarital intercourse is forbidden.  Further, behavior (e.g. nudity, lying in bed together) that encourages such intimacy will not be tolerated by the college.”[38]

Messiah College, under its section on Scriptural Guidelines, mentions that “we are to avoid such sinful practices as… sexual intercourse outside of marriage, homosexual behavior, and sexually exploitative or abusive behavior.”[39]

Some of the other CCCU colleges studied prohibit premarital sexual intimacy without mentioning their religious mission in the same context.  For instance, Biola University states, “Any behavior that is considered compromising, sexually inappropriate, or causes others in the community to be uncomfortable is prohibited.”[40]

Trevecca Nazarene University states that students are not allowed to engage “in acts of sexual immorality, such as premarital and extramarital relations.”[41]  Malone University stipulates, “Sex should be exclusively reserved for the marriage relationship, understood as a legal, lifelong commitment between a husband and wife.”[42]  And Pepperdine University prohibits “Sexual activity outside a marriage between husband and wife including, but not limited to, premarital, extramarital or homosexual conduct.”[43]

Nearly all of the colleges studied were found to have specific sections for policy regarding sexual misconduct in their student handbooks.  While none of the 40 Catholic colleges studied were found to prohibit premarital sex as a part of their sexual misconduct policies, several of the CCCU colleges studied do.  Taylor University states as part of its sexual misconduct policy, “Remaining sexually pure is God’s plan for our lives.  The following [sexual misconduct] guidelines are intended to provide direction when dealing with students who are sexually involved outside of the marriage relationship.”[44]  Calvin College also states under its sexual misconduct policy that “premarital intercourse is in conflict with Biblical teaching,” and those “engaging in such conduct face disciplinary action including parent/guardian notification, or suspension.”[45]  While not mentioning sexual misconduct per se in the same context, Wheaton College specifies, “Intimate sexual expression outside the biblical boundary of marriage may increase the risk of miscommunication about consent.”[46]

Many of the Catholic colleges studied prohibit “cohabitation” or overnight visits by members of the opposite sex, rather than specifically prohibiting all premarital sexual relations among students.  Overall, there is much variance among Catholic colleges in the ways they use the term cohabitation and describe overnight visitation policies.

For instance, some Catholic colleges stipulate that visitors of the opposite sex are not permitted overnight, but they do not explicitly prohibit sexual activities at other times of the day.  The College of the Holy Cross says, “Guests are not permitted to stay overnight in the same room with a member of the opposite sex.”[47]  Seattle University specifies, “Given the values of Seattle University, cohabitation is not permitted in University residence halls or apartments.  Only guests of the same gender as their resident hosts are permitted to stay overnight in the residence halls, provided that the guest is not in an amorous relationship with the resident host.”[48]  Saint John’s University in Minnesota also stipulates, “Guests of the opposite sex are not permitted to stay overnight in any student residence.”[49]

Some Catholic colleges, without making direct mention of sexual activities, do not define the term cohabitation, or they use it broadly to mean any visitor who is not the primary resident staying in a campus residence for an extended period of time.  For example, Stonehill College says, “reflective of Catholic values and moral teaching, Stonehill encourages relationships between young adults that foster physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being and, as such, the College does not permit cohabitation.”[50]  Wheeling Jesuit University has a broad policy which defines cohabitation as “the consistent presence of a guest who spends a day/night or longer period of time in a student’s residence hall room.”  Wheeling Jesuit stipulates that “Visitors of the same or opposite gender found to be a consistent presence… will be considered to be engaged in cohabitation, and the host and student(s) involved will be subject to conduct review through the Office of Residence Life and Student Conduct.”[51]  And Bellarmine University states that “Cohabitation exists when a person who is not assigned to a particular residence hall room or apartment uses that room or apartment as if he or she were living there.”[52]

A couple Catholic colleges have policies that specifically prohibit overnight sexual encounters, but they do not include language prohibiting sexual relations at other times.  Georgetown University defines cohabitation as “overnight visits with a sexual partner” and says it is “incompatible both with the Catholic character of the University and with the rights of the roommates.”[53]  Creighton University stipulates, “Overnight visits with a sexual partner is incompatible both with the Catholic nature of the University and with the rights of the roommate and is strictly prohibited.”  It defines cohabitation as “living together outside of marriage in an intimate relationship.”[54]

A few of the Catholic colleges studied have very loose or practically nonexistent policies regarding sexual relations among students.  Rockhurst University, which has open visitation, stipulates that “Guests may not stay for more than two consecutive nights (48 hours) unless permission is obtained from the Resident Director.”[55]  A residence life administrator from St. Francis College stated, “Currently there is no policy specifically prohibiting sexual activity in the residence halls.  However, any activities taking place in a room must have the consent of all residents of the room including their roommates.”

 

Appendices

Appendix A – Visitation Hour End Times at Catholic Colleges and Universities

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Appendix B – Comparison of Visitation Hours at Sample of Catholic and CCCU Colleges

Catholic College Weekend Nights Week
Nights
Sunday Nights Single-Sex or
Coed Residences
Aquinas College none none none Single Sex
Bellarmine University 2:00 AM 2:00 AM 2:00 AM Both
Belmont Abbey College 12:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM Single Sex
Benedictine College 1:30 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM Single Sex
Boston College open open open
Carroll College 2:00 AM 1:00 AM 1:00 AM Coed
Christian Brothers University 2:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM Coed
Clarke University 2:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM Both
College of St. Benedict 2:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM Single Sex
College of the Holy Cross open open open Coed
Creighton University 3:00 AM 1:00 AM 1:00 AM Coed
Fairfield University open open open Coed
Fordham University 3:30 AM 3:30 AM 3:30 AM Coed
Georgetown University open open open Coed
Gonzaga University 2:00 AM 2:00 AM 2:00 AM Both
John Carroll University 2:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM Coed
Loras College 2:00 AM 2:00 AM 2:00 AM Coed
Loyola Marymount University 2:00 AM 2:00 AM 2:00 AM Both
Loyola University Maryland 2:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM
Loyola Univ. New Orleans open open open Coed
Marquette University 2:00 AM 1:00 AM 1:00 AM Both
Merrimack College 12:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM
Providence College 2:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM Both
Rockhurst University open open 12:00 AM Both
Santa Clara University open open open Coed
Seattle University 2:00 AM 1:00 AM 1:00 AM Coed
Seton Hill University 2:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM Coed
Spring Hill College 2:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM Coed
St. Francis College open open open Coed
St. Gregory’s University 2:00 AM 12:00 AM 8:00 PM Single Sex
St. John’s University (MN) 2:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM Single Sex
St. Michael’s College 2:00 AM 1:00 AM 1:00 AM Coed
Stonehill College open open open Coed
Thomas Aquinas College none none none Single Sex
University of Great Falls 1:00 AM 11:00 PM 11:00 PM Coed
University of Notre Dame 2:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM Single Sex
University of San Diego 2:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM Coed
Villanova University open open open Coed
Wheeling Jesuit University open open open Both
Xavier University 2:00 AM 1:00 AM 1:00 AM Coed
CCCU College Weekend
Nights
Week
Nights
Sunday
Nights
Single-Sex or Coed Residences
Anderson University 12:00 AM 10:00 PM 9:00 PM Both
Asbury University 1:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM
Azusa Pacific University 12:00 AM 10:00 PM 10:00 PM Both
Baylor University 2:00 AM 2:00 AM 2:00 AM
Biola University 12:00 AM 11:00 PM 11:00 PM Both
Cairn University none none none
Calvin College 1:00 AM 10:00 PM 10:00 PM Both
College of the Ozarks none none none Single Sex
Covenant College 11:00 PM none 5:00 PM Coed
Dordt College 12:00 AM 10:00 PM 10:00 PM Both
Eastern University 1:00 AM 10:30 PM 10:30 PM
Geneva College 1:00 AM 12:00 AM 8:00 PM Both
George Fox University 12:00 AM 11:00 PM 12:00 AM Both
Gordon College 12:00 AM 10:00 PM 10:00 PM
Goshen College 12:00 AM 11:00 PM 12:00 AM Coed
Houghton College 1:00 AM 11:00 PM 11:00 PM Single Sex
John Brown University 12:00 AM 10:00 PM none Both
LeTourneau University 11:00 PM 11:00 PM 9:00 PM Single Sex
Lipscomb University none none none Single Sex
Malone University 12:00 AM 11:00 PM 11:00 PM Single Sex
Messiah College 1:00 AM 10:00 PM 10:00 PM Coed
Mississippi College 12:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM Single Sex
Oklahoma Baptist University 11:00 PM 10:00 PM none Both
Oklahoma Wesleyan University none 10:00 PM 8:00 PM Single Sex
Olivet Nazarene University none none none Single Sex
Pepperdine University 1:00 AM 1:00 AM 1:00 AM Both
Point Loma Nazarene University 1:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM Both
Roberts Wesleyan College 1:00 AM 12:30 AM 12:30 AM Both
Samford University 12:00 AM 10:00 PM 10:00 PM Both
Seattle Pacific University 12:00 AM 11:00 PM 11:00 PM Single Sex
Spring Arbor University 11:00 PM 10:00 PM 11:00 PM Single Sex
Taylor University 12:00 AM none 5:00 PM Both
The Master’s College and Sem. none none none Both
Trevecca Nazarene University 12:00 AM 11:00 PM 12:00 AM Single Sex
Trinity International University 11:30 PM 10:30 PM 11:30 PM Both
Union University none none none Single Sex
University of Valley Forge 10:30 PM 10:30 PM none Both
Waynesburg University 2:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM Single Sex
Westmont College 1:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM Coed
Wheaton College 11:00 PM 10:00 PM 10:00 PM Coed

 

 

Appendix C – Comparison of Open-Door, Open-Bolt, and Lights-On Policies at Sample of Catholic and CCCU Colleges

Catholic Colleges with Open-Door/Open-Bolt/Lights-On Policies Number of colleges from sample: 1/40
College Open-Door/Open-Bolt Lights-On
St. Gregory’s University

 

CCCU Colleges with Open-Door/Open-Bolt/Lights-On Policies Number of colleges from sample: 21/40
College Open-Door/Open-Bolt Lights-On
Anderson University
Biola University
Cairn University
Calvin College
Covenant College
Dordt College
Eastern University
George Fox University
Gordon College
Houghton College
John Brown University
LeTourneau University
Malone University
Mississippi College
Oklahoma Wesleyan University
Samford University
Spring Arbor University
Taylor University
Trinity International University
Union University
University of Valley Forge
Westmont College
Wheaton College

 

 

[1] This report uses the term “college” to refer to institutions of higher education that serve undergraduate students, including universities.

[2] Visitation hour information was not found for the following Catholic institutions: Hilbert College, Madonna University and Mexican American University.

[3] The following Catholic institutions were nonresidential at the time of the study: Ancilla Domini College, Calumet College of St. Joseph, Labouré College, Maria College, Marian Court College, Mercy College of Health Sciences, Our Lady of Holy Cross College, Our Lady of the Lake College, Resurrection University and Trocaire College.

[4] U.S. News & World Report. Available at: http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges

[5] There is some overlap among the instances mentioned in this paragraph.

[6] “Open” visitation mentioned elsewhere in the report indicates that a college or colleges implement one or more of the policies mentioned in this paragraph or in the methodology section.

[7] Edgewood College. Available at: http://www.edgewood.edu/Portals/0/pdf/Prospective/reslifeguide.pdf

[8] La Salle University. Available at: http://www.lasalle.edu/students/dean/divpub/manuals/sgrrr/index.php?accordion_num=2&vn2_accordion_num=5&content=res&anchorID=cour#

[9] College of New Rochelle. Available at: http://www.cnr.edu/documents/10186/215484/2012-13_residence_life_handbook_.pdf/98944cf1-c25f-4772-bf46-f73ce3d545e8

[10] St. Mary’s College. Available at: https://www.saintmarys.edu/files/2012-2013%20Residence%20Hall%20Living%20Guide_1.pdf

[11] Seton Hall University. Available at: https://www13.shu.edu/offices/policies-procedures/housing-guest-and-visitation-policies-and-procedures.cfm

[12] Ave Maria University. Available at: http://www.avemaria.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Student-Handbook-Fall-2015-for-publication.pdf

[13] Franciscan University of Steubenville. Available at: http://en.calameo.com/read/0000568545cd3ee683289

[14] University of Dallas. Available at: http://udallas.edu/students/_documents/student_handbook_2015-2016.pdf

[15] St. Gregory’s University. Available at: http://www.stgregorys.edu/sites/default/files/page-attachments/SGU%20Handbook%20Final%202014-2015.pdf

[16] Ave Maria University. Available at: http://www.avemaria.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Student-Handbook-Fall-2015-for-publication.pdf

[17] Franciscan University of Steubenville. Available at: http://en.calameo.com/read/0000568545cd3ee683289

[18] St. Martin’s University. Available at: http://www.stmartin.edu/studentservices/pdf/studenthandbook.pdf

[19] Loyola University New Orleans. Available at: http://studentaffairs.loyno.edu/sites/studentaffairs.loyno.edu/files/REVISED%20Final%20Version%202014-2015%20Student%20Handbook%2010_30_2014.pdf

[20] Villanova University. Available at: https://www1.villanova.edu/content/dam/villanova/studentlife/documents/DeanofStudents/Student%20Handbook%20Guest%20and%20Visitation.pdf#page=69

[21] Wheeling Jesuit University. Available at: http://www.wju.edu/studenthandbook/residencelife.asp

[22] Messiah College. Available at: http://www.messiah.edu/info/20850/campus_visitor_policy

[23] Loyola University New Orleans. Available at: http://studentaffairs.loyno.edu/sites/studentaffairs.loyno.edu/files/REVISED%20Final%20Version%202014-2015%20Student%20Handbook%2010_30_2014.pdf

[24] College of St. Benedict. Available at: https://www.csbsju.edu/csb-residential-life/handbook/e-m#guest

[25] Stonehill College. Available at: http://www.stonehill.edu/files/resources/2014-05-07-s18-guest-policy.pdf

[26] St. Francis College. Available at: http://www.sfc.edu/uploaded/documents/student_life/EHSResidenceGuide.pdf

[27] No information regarding single-sex or coed residences was found for three of the Catholic colleges and five of the CCCU colleges.

[28] Benedictine College. Available at: http://issuu.com/bcravens/docs/student_handbook_2014-2015_83404b9be464e5?e=1099078/9674541#search

[29] St. Gregory’s University. Available at: http://www.stgregorys.edu/sites/default/files/page-attachments/SGU Handbook Final 2014-2015.pdf

[30] University of Notre Dame du Lac. Available at: http://dulac.nd.edu/community-standards/standards/sexual-activity/

[31] Villanova University. Available at: https://www1.villanova.edu/content/dam/villanova/studentlife/documents/DeanofStudents/Student%20Handbook%20Guest%20and%20Visitation.pdf#page=69

[32] Xavier University. Available at: http://www.xavier.edu/handbook/general/Statement-on-Sexual-Orientation-and-Gender-Identity.cfm

[33] Baylor University. Available at: http://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php?id=39247

[34] George Fox University. Available at: http://www.georgefox.edu/offices/hr/lifestyle-statement.html

[35] Oklahoma Wesleyan University. Available at: http://www.okwu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/2013-2014-Student-Handbook.pdf

[36] Wheaton College. Available at: http://www.wheaton.edu/~/media/Files/Student-Life/StudentHandbook-2014-15.pdf

[37] The Master’s College. Available at: http://www.masters.edu/media/770127/2014 Student Handbook.pdf?2014.4

[38] Dort College. Available at: https://www.dordt.edu/campus_life/student_handbook/student_life.shtml#visitation

[39] Messiah College. Available at: http://www.messiah.edu/info/20003/faith_and_values/6/community_covenant/2

[40] Biola University. Available at: http://www.biola.edu/offices/auxiliaryservices/housing/ug-14-15/occupancy/#visitors

[41] Trevecca Nazarene University. Available at: http://s3.amazonaws.com/trevecca.edu/resources/Student_Handbook_2014-15.pdf

[42] Malone University. Available at: http://www.malone.edu/student-life/maloneuniversityabridgedstudenthandbookfall.pdf

[43] Pepperdine University. Available at: https://www.thefire.org/pdfs/703ed5032c610398b20e5aadd0763c8d.pdf

[44] Taylor University. Available at: http://www.taylor.edu/dotAsset/d501f4c5-8b08-4d69-9764-efbb56ac650a.pdf

[45] Calvin College. Available at: http://www.calvin.edu/dotAsset/1f604468-2d57-4c3d-96bf-be2e65b9ed81.pdf

[46] Wheaton College. Available at: http://www.wheaton.edu/~/media/Files/Student-Life/StudentHandbook-2014-15.pdf

[47] College of the Holy Cross. Available at: http://holycross.edu/sites/default/files/migration/files/student_handbook_0.pdf

[48] Seattle University. Available at: https://www.seattleu.edu/housing/policies/housing-policy/handbook/

[49] Saint John’s University. Available at: http://www.csbsju.edu/sju-residential-life-and-housing/housing-policies#openhouse

[50] Stonehill College. Available at: http://www.stonehill.edu/files/resources/2014-05-07-s18-guest-policy.pdf

[51] Wheeling Jesuit University. Available at: http://www.wju.edu/studenthandbook/residencelife.asp

[52] Bellarmine University. Available at: http://www.bellarmine.edu/docs/default-source/Student_Affairs_Docs/StudentHandbook13-14_Web_1.aspx

[53] Georgetown University. Available at: https://studentconduct.georgetown.edu/code-of-student-conduct#_ga=1.91895898.1171060315.1428420624

[54] Creighton University. Available at: http://www.creighton.edu/fileadmin/user/students/docs/2014-2015_Student_Handbook_Final_011315.pdf

[55] Rockhurst University. Available at: http://www.thezonelive.com/SchoolStructure/MO_RockhurstUniversity/handbook.pdf

[56] Ave Maria University, which has an open-door policy, only permits opposite-sex visitation between 6 p.m. and 12 a.m. on weekend nights.  And on Sunday it is permitted between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.  These time ranges are much narrower than those at most other colleges.

[57] College of New Rochelle has one dorm in which students may have overnight visitors of the opposite sex.

[58] Edgewood College specifies a policy explicitly permitting weekend visitation hours for intimate partners.

[59] Franciscan University of Steubenville, which has an open-door policy, only permits opposite-sex visitation between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. on weekend nights.  And on Sunday it is permitted between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.  These time ranges are much narrower than most other colleges.

[60] La Salle University is listed as open because it permits overnight visitation in some residence halls due to some buildings’ designs and the need for group study.  However, the University discourages overnight visitation.

[61] Although Marian University in Wisconsin lists set visitation hours, the director of residence life confirmed that opposite-sex students may stay overnight in residence halls.  The University is listed as having open visitation here.

[62] Mercyhurst University confirmed that all non-freshmen have open visitation hours and that all upperclassmen live in apartments and townhomes.  Such campus living spaces are generally not accounted for in this chart, but are considered in this instance given that all upperclassmen use them as residences.

[63] Malloy College ends visitation at 12:00 a.m. on all week nights except on Thursday when it ends at 1:00 a.m.

[64] Mount Carmel College of Nursing’s hours during breaks, which are a little later than its usual hours, are reported.

[65] Regis University states that opposite-sex overnight visitation is not allowed, but its hours are listed as open here since no time limits to visitation are given.

[66] Seton Hall University only permits students to host an overnight guest of the opposite sex if another student of the opposite-sex also stays overnight as a co-host.

[67] Spalding University limits visitation hours to midnight most weekdays, but permits open visitation on Thursdays.

[68] St. Gregory’s University has an open-bolt policy.

[69] St. Martin’s University requires doors to be open during the last few hours of visitation each night.

[70] St. Mary’s College is listed as open because overnight guests of the opposite sex are permitted in one residence.

[71] University of Dallas has an open-bolt policy.

[72] Villa Maria College students live at Collegiate Village, an off-campus college housing facility used by students attending several nearby colleges.  The student life director provided information noting that students at Collegiate Village can have overnight guests, but not specifying a restriction on opposite-sex guests.

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