By Austynn Crocker, Staff Writer
October 25, 2023
What is a curfew, and what does it have to do with Ouachita students? I associate curfew with my childhood or my teenage years. It’s something my parents enforced because I was too young and naive to know when my brain was telling me I needed sleep.
When Ouachita was established, like most Christian universities in the state and the country, it established a curfew. This curfew was only applied to the female residents until the year 1990, shortly before the fall semester when Niki Ranchino not only realized the unfairness of the curfew but took action against it. With the help of her parents and sound legal advice, she reached out to the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU agreed that what some may call Ouachita’s double standard regarding curfew did not coincide with state law. Ouachita could either establish a curfew for the men as well, or abolish it all together. Thus, the curfew was lifted.
In 2023, no student at Ouachita has experienced a curfew while living on campus, and I believe that is how it should be. Ignoring the unfairness tied to Ouachita’s original curfew, there are still obvious flaws behind setting a curfew. Enforcing a curfew prohibits late night studying in the Evans Student Center, late night snack runs and late night drives home after spending the holidays with your friends and family. These are all important aspects of a healthy college existence.
As I mentioned before, there are numerous college campuses that still implement curfews and have high enrollment statistics despite most college students’ aversion to it. For example, Harding in Searcy, Ark., has a curfew and is extremely strict on enforcing it. However, Joe Crocker, a 2022 graduate of Harding University, acknowledges that living under a curfew was not as bad as it seems.
“For me curfew was only annoying on the weekends,” Crocker said. “During the week I tried to be in bed before midnight anyway, but it did feel like they were treating grown adults like babies. Some students struggled with being late to curfew and that was hard on them.”
For some college students curfews are preferred for the safety and well-being of the student. Luckily, there are options like Harding for those students. I am grateful because there are Christian schools, such as Ouachita, that no longer exercise curfew. Curfew or no curfew, there is a place for everyone to call home, and if that home is Ouachita, there is liveliness 24 hours of the day.