Brian Clemmenson

Equinox Staff


For the third time in three years, Keene State College students will be another guest short during Pumpkin Festival weekend because of a guest policy change by the Office of Residential Life.

This is not the first time students have been affected by a guest policy change during the Pumpkin Festival weekend. In 2011, students were allowed two guests, a change from 2010 in which a student was allowed to have three registered guests over the weekend.

The change this year allows a student to have one registered guest for the weekend. According to the Student Handbook, the guest policy for a normal non-Pumpkin Festival weekend allows a student to have up to three guests who cannot stay more than two consecutive nights.

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The Office of Residential Life decided on changing the policy to one guest per student for the weekend because of incidents that have happened over the years when students were allowed to have multiple guests. According to Nate Gordon, coordinator of the First-Year Residential Experience, “The population sometimes doubles or triples.” As a result, Gordon mentioned there will be more desk attendants to deal with the rise in population. “We are doubling up. We are going with 24-hour desk attending starting Friday through noon on Sunday. It is for the high number of guests coming in. One will be issuing guest passes and the other will be checking IDs.”

As a result of the population doubling or tripling there are a lot more policy violations. Gordon added, “A lot of policy violations happen as a result of people’s guests. So as way to cut down on the amount of damages and incidents that are happening we thought it was important to restrict the number of guests down to one.” The Office of Residential Life said they are hoping that as result of this, damages and vandalism will go down as well.

Jim Carley, associate director of Facilities & Housing Operations, said as a result of Pumpkin Festival the conditions of the residence halls “is just trashed.” Carley also mentioned the cost of damages. “It’s in the thousands not in the tens of thousands.”

The damages in a residence hall could range from a Pumpkin being smashed and having its insides all over the floor which would require a cleanup from UNICCO or even something more major as someone ripped a water fountain off the wall which would cost much more money to cleanup and fix.

Gordon also said, “Nine time outs of 10 it was caused as a result of a student’s guest; KSC students were fine.” As stated in the Student Handbook any guest who violates policy will have their host or hostess held responsible, “Damage and/or policy violations resulting from the behavior of guests or visitors is the responsibility of the guest or visitor as well as that of the host or hostess.”

One noteworthy thing is that Student Assembly endorsed the policy after a long conversation about the pros and cons of restricting the guest policy with two members of the Office of Residential Life staff, Nate Gordon and Jana Jacobson. Katelyn Williams, student body president, said of the reaction, “At first it was very mixed and some people were saying that limiting it will be good, and a lot of people were like no we want our friends to come.”

However, after putting their personal opinions aside Student Assembly endorsed the policy. Williams also added, “I agreed with the policy. I think we all want to have fun during Pumpkin Fest, but we have look at it from bigger standpoint as this college triples and how safe is that for not only the students that live here and the workers.”

One thing Student Assembly did ask Gordon and Jacobson was what if a student’s friends or family has already bought a plane ticket or bus ticket prior to this update? Jacobson said, in situations such as that, there will be a waiver for that student.

Students were sent an email through their MyKSC Account from the Office of Residential Life on Tuesday, Oct. 9 that stated, “With the annual Pumpkinfest approaching, The Office of Residential Life and Housing Services has recently received support from the Vice President of Student Affairs, Campus Safety, and Student Government to limit the number of guests any individual student is permitted to have during Pumpkinfest to one.

This limitation will be in effect Friday, Oct. 19 through midnight Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012.  After this period, the regular guest policy will be in effect.

“This action is being taken in an attempt to help further reduce the much higher than usual incidents of residence hall damage and other student conduct violations during [Pumpkin Fest].  Since guests are typically responsible for the majority of these issues during the festival, it is our hope this will help make the festival more enjoyable and less disruptive for everyone. We recognize that [Pumpkin Fest] is a great time to have friends and/or family come to visit and we apologize if this limitation causes any inconvenience,” according to the the email.

Many students were not happy with that email they received. Freshman Dave St. Amant said, “The timing was terrible. They should have given us at least a month. I understand the decision, but you give me literally 10 days. That is not very considerate.”

St. Amant was also going to have trouble on which one of his best friends he was going to invite. St. Amant also added, “It was very inconsiderate.  We pay a lot of money to go here.”

On the other hand, junior Matt Schwartz said, “I understand how people can be upset. However, I think it’s necessary due to all of the vandalism and the trouble that a lot of guests have and bring to campus.”

Even though many students are upset with the changes in the policy, others around campus have stated that changes have been done and made for the right reason. Nevertheless, it has affected many students’ plans for having friends visit.


Brian Clemmenson can be contacted at

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