The Student News Site of Dillard University


The Student News Site of Dillard University


The Student News Site of Dillard University


Residential Life enacts new policy due to unwarranted use of emergency exit

NEW ORLEANS (December 18,2023) – On Oct. 11, Williams Hall residents were informed that they would be receiving four fines of $100, totaling $400, for the use of the emergency exit door unless the individual(s) who used the door were found, according to an email from the Director of Residential Life, Tiffany Murphy.

The email sent by the Director of  Residential Life, Tiffany Murphy, read as follows.

Good evening Williams residents, please be aware that since Monday, October 9th, the emergency exit door closest to Kearney has been activated four (4) times. The utilization of this door was documented as follows: Monday about 9:51am, Tuesday about 7:41 and twice today at 4:56 pm and 7:15pm.” 

The email continued, “As stated in the email sent on Wednesday, October 4th, there will be a $100.00 fine placed on the student account of every resident in the impacted building unless the use of the door can be attributed to one specific individual. Currently, Residential Life does not have a specific individual for these four violations and will move forward with applying said fine on each student account of the current residence of Williams Hall.”

This policy of fining the entire residential hall was enacted due to the disregard of the existing emergency exit door policy and for the health and safety of Dillard University students. The policy has been effective since Oct. 9, 2023. 

In the 2023-2024 Housing Contract, it states “Notices of new policies may be made by Dillard University Office of Residential Life During the Housing contract period by notifying residents through postings, letters, email messages, and/or publications.” This means that although it’s not directly stated in the housing contract signed by students, this policy of fining all residents of a specific dorm hall for the violation of one individual is contractually legal, but that does not directly imply that it’s fair to these students.

This fine was put in place with the intention of encouraging residents of each dorm hall to hold each other accountable. Students are expected to turn in the individuals responsible for setting off the fire alarm, but if no one comes forward, the fine will be applied to the entire residence hall. 

“We want you guys to kind of self-police because it’s very dangerous. So our hope is that everyone will hold each other accountable so that we don’t have to threaten fining anyone, I don’t want your money, what I want is for you all to keep each other safe,” said President Rochelle Ford.

Some students were outraged by this, as they themselves did not violate the rules by utilizing the emergency exit doors. This situation is especially frustrating to students who have balances that need to be paid off. 

One student, Bonnie Strong, a freshmen health science major from New Orleans, said “I don’t think it’s fair that I should have to suffer for people not being able to follow simple instructions. And I don’t understand why we have to go and report it because I have more important things to do than go sit outside and watch every time somebody comes out the door.” 

This incident raises concerns about campus safety. Although security measures have been put in place in residential halls, such as surveillance cameras and 24/7 Residential Assistant staff, the Residential Life team cannot identify the individuals using the emergency exit doors. It’s also a hazard that the alarms habitually ring without actual cause. This is particularly a concern with the rise of gun violence on the campuses of other historically black institutions.

Student safety must be a priority for both Dillard University and its students, as without a safe environment proper education cannot be attained. Both students and staff of Dillard University are responsible for maintaining campus safety. The rules put in place are done so for a reason and it’s students’ responsibility to follow them.

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