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Right guy for the job

This item originally appeared in the April 14, 2005 issue of The Tech Talk.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, a man-check is a middle-of-the-night inspection of a female's dorm room for, well, a man. Resident Assistants -- by no desire of their own -- enter each room of the dorm being inspected to search closets, beneath desks, under beds and under covers with retina-burning flashlights. Yet this man is often nowhere to be found.

Each dorm has its own version. The checks range in severity and annoyance from the best, Harper Residence Hall -- a single-occupancy female dorm with a noon to 2 a.m. visitation period (longer on the weekends) -- to the worst, Mitchell Residence Hall, a female dorm with a noon to midnight visitation period. Did I mention it's surrounded by male dorms?

I live in Mitchell and have since fall 2002. I have no complaints about living there except when I'm awakened suddenly by a series of slammed doors and alarmed shouts. Then my door flies open and in walks a near-stranger with the bedside manner of a rhinoceros. The last time my dorm had a check, I was awake studying for a biology test. The RA walked straight to my closet, inspected it and went to the other closet, opened that door, closed it and then exited the way she came in. No "Hi, how's it going?," "Good luck on that test!," nothing. But I can understand. They are having their eight hours encroached upon as well.

Don't get me wrong, I've gotten used to having my space and sleep invaded during these twice-a-quarter inspections, but checking each female's room for one man seems like overkill, if not an archaic means of making sure all the girls are following the rules and letting the boys, well, be boys.

As everyone knows, our male counterparts are not awarded the same luxury of being startled awake at all hours of the night as we do. But do they not deserve the same protection?

One reason for the man-checks is to keep the residents in the female dorms safe. Because having one male loose in a female dorm is so much worse than having one woman roaming around in a residence hall full of men?

And since there is notoriously little enforcement of the midnight-all-women-out rule in the men's dorms, all the women who would have stayed in their own rooms just go over to their boyfriends' rooms for the night. Women are taken advantage of because the risk of getting punched in the face for rousing everyone in a female dorm from sweet slumber is far less great than if these checks occurred in a male dorm.

Not only are too-frequent man-checks for women unfair, it is unfair to the people enduring it. Tech is way behind in the issue of having co-ed residence halls and even floors where your next-door neighbor won't want to borrow your new make-up because it won't match his John Deer T-shirt.

It shouldn't happen to either gender of student. When this type of policing goes on, our dorms feel more like prisons than places to call home.

We are all supposed to be adults. Punish those who break the rules. But don't put everyone on the wall just because one person threw a green bean during lunchtime.

Rindy Metcalf is a senior journalism major from Bossier City and serves as managing editor for The Tech Talk. E-mail comments to rdm018@latech.edu.


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