Continuing last spring’s conversation surrounding the approval of a new room-visiting policy, Student Council held a panel discussion on Sunday for faculty and students concerning room visiting and sex education at Andover.
The panel, which took place in the Mural Room of Paresky Commons, focused primarily on the education of teachers and house counselors regarding sex education and talks about room visiting. Student and faculty panelists alike also called for more action concerning the new room-visiting policies.
In an attempt to bring together faculty and students on the controversial topic of room-visiting policy, both faculty and students participated in the panel. The panelists were AJ Augustin ’15, Jennifer Elliott, Instructor in History and Dean of Abbot Cluster, Carlos Hoyt, Associate Dean of Students for Personal and Community Education, Andrea Orben, Health Educator, Kory Stuer ’15, Grace Tully ’15 and Alejandria Uria ’15.
Augustin said that although there are many faculty members on campus who are open and willing to talk to students about parietals, he feels this willingness is not universal.
“I think that a lot of the faculty who talk about [room visiting and sexual relations] somehow miss the point that all the faculty need to be educated,” said Augustin.
Faculty panelists expressed a need for a mature school environment before a room-visiting policy alteration, echoing students’ calls for more standardized discussions about sex and relationships.
“I think [the best approach is] for students to demonstrate their willingness, that they want to have these conversations that are sometimes hard and uncomfortable and awkward…. I feel really strongly… kids need to hold themselves and each other to higher standards in terms of the way that they engage with each other,” said Elliott.
Some students felt that the room-visiting policy proposed by the faculty did not solve the larger problem of room visiting and sex education as a whole.
“Changing the policy to an open-door, lights-on policy for the sake of maintaining a comfortable environment for faculty… is ignoring the fact that these faculty members have chosen to work on a residential campus as a house counselor,” said Uria.
The low faculty turnout at the forum drew criticism from some panelists.
“I was hoping there would be faculty there so that we could get a sort of dialogue going about how students aren’t going to be comfortable with the ideas of safety, responsibility [and] maturity in terms of sexual intimacy until they can trust their house counselors,” said Tully.