Residential students react to curfew being lifted

University of Miami's Lakeside village, one of the residential living areas where students were under curfew. Photo by Jared Lennon

For the past year, students on campus were trapped inside their dorms, forced to be inside their residential areas by midnight. Alongside the Miami-Dade County curfew being lifted, the University of Miami Department of Housing and Residential Life has also decided to lift its midnight curfew. On April 12, a newsletter was sent out to residential students informing them that they may come and go as they please without any consequences.

“Lifting the midnight curfew will hopefully reduce the stress or worry of students,” Executive Director of Residential Life, Ivan Ceballos said. “Especially with final exams around the corner.”

This news sparked a lot of joy in the students, normalizing their campus experience, as they will now not have to worry about being back on campus by a certain time.

“Students don’t come to college to be confined in their room after 12 a.m.,” said Shikhar Jhalani, a sophomore majoring in finance and marketing. “College is a first step to independence and responsibility and I personally felt like the school was limiting that.”

The curfew has been in place since the fall semester, which many say created an odd on-campus experience, especially for freshmen entering college.

The lifting of the curfew marks a return to some normalcy for on-campus students.

“There is value, in hanging out on the gliders, strolling around campus, and connecting with peers,” Ceballos said. Students have said that part of this experience is going out into the outer environment: the city of Miami and all it has to offer. After all, that is one of the reasons why some students chose to attend UM.

As soon as this news came to light, students were thrilled.

Sophomore environmental engineering major, Kara Samuel said, “I’m excited to finally take my time with activities on the weekends and not have to worry about getting disciplinary action after being a few minutes past 12.”

Students said they felt as if they couldn’t fully enjoy their time off campus with the curfew.

“I think this is good overall,” said Alexander Ezzy, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering. “It gives students less pressure to get back to campus in time for curfew.”

Samuel continued saying she felt as if she couldn’t enjoy anything, especially with her off campus friends. It was concerning for students and created worry when they had to choose to either stay off campus or pay the curfew violation fine.

“The curfew made me feel trapped and changed my social life a lot with my off-campus friends,” Samuel said. “I felt worried when Ubers ran late and I had to sleep at a friend’s place, so that I wasn’t written up for coming back 10 minutes late. I am glad that I will be able to come back to the comfort and safety of my own apartment.”

When asking about the possibility of cases rising, students believe that the campus population is already getting vaccinated, they already had COVID or they had already been going out and arriving before the midnight curfew.

“At this point everyone is vaccinated or they already had the virus so the cases could rise but not significantly,” Nikit Khurana, a sophomore majoring in biomedical engineering said.

Ceballos, the Director of Housing echoed a similar sentiment.

“While time will tell, I do not think the lifting of the curfew will have a significant effect on the number of COVID cases on campus,” Ceballos said. “Students should still adhere to the safety protocols on and off campus.”

This semester, 1,440 students have tested positive for COVID-19 as of April 19.

Overall the lifting of curfew has made students very happy and they feel as though they can enjoy themselves with their friends off campus for a longer period of time.

“I’m very happy. Everyone is happy. I can stay out later now,” Eben Butler, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering said.

“Students are capable enough of making their own smart decisions, whether there is a curfew or not,” said Khurana.