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College Dorm Curfews: Useless and Contradictory Restrictions

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College is an institution meant for adult learning and integration into the adult world for those young adults who haven’t already done so. In this regard, policy and student treatment by administration and staff should reflect that. The law even stipulates this.

One particular regulation that comes to mind is college dorm curfews for undergraduate students. Not all universities implement this kind of restriction, but many do. The college dorm curfew is, to put it bluntly, useless and contradictory for some obvious reason.

First, older teenagers ranging from 18-21 are, in effect, adults, even if they do not always behave in such a manner. The federal law clarifies this as so. Treating them like children will do no good and incite protestation and/or rebellion. Although their behavior is questionable and out-of-control much of the time, these young adults will, in fact, conduct their lives as they wish to do so. That’s the way it should be. Only in that way can they make their mistakes and learn about responsibility. Besides, colleges aren’t designated “parents” or “guardians” having the authority to initiate parental discipline.

Another problem with college dorm curfews, which usually range anywhere from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. on weekdays or every single day of the week, is that some untraditional students may take a room in such dorms due to the common college requirement that all incoming freshman (and sometimes sophomores) live on-campus and/or in standard undergraduate dorms. Older students living in these dorms are even more treated unrealistically and unfair by these curfews, which supposedly extend to every resident, otherwise it would be considered unfair and/or ineffective. Adults, especially older adults, conduct their own affairs, and if they wish to stay out all night or as late as they want, that is their prerogative. They should not have to be locked out and denied access to their paid room. That’s ludicrous!

The college dorm curfew is contradictory in accordance to what has already mentioned: Colleges are adult institutions, and the placement of such restrictions on the adults as if they were adolescents (minors) or children goes against the college’s intended purpose, which is to prepare young adults for the real world. If young adults are treated like children, they cannot and will not gain that oh-so crucial sense of independence and responsibility that they needed to survive in the real world.

In the end, adults have rights afforded to them because they are adults, and restricting or denying those rights becomes an extremely confusing situation to those who are expected to be deemed as adults.

One solution would be for those universities that allow high school seniors or early enrollees (those who graduate high school and attend college as minors) to designate, say, one dorm for those who are still under 18, and then initiate a curfew for that dorm only. This not only eliminates any confusion brought on by such restrictions; it also corresponds to the law and doesn’t violate the rights of any adult who is so established by law.


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Blake about 7 years ago Blake


I agree completely. Well spoken.

Brian about 7 years ago Brian


You're right on the point. Our college dorm efficiencies are in operation under a curfew set every night at 10pm. I was doing some research on this, and your blog was the first go to place. I am the student senate president for our college and we are looking to abolish the curfew policy. Your blog has been instrumental. Thank you!