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No outside dates at Lipscomb SGA formal, citing security and budget

Once again, Lipscomb’s policy prohibits students from bringing outside dates to the Student Government Association’s annual student formal. The decision is rooted in security concerns and budgeting.

Last year’s, dance floor beneath the Lipscomb University Student Body Formal sign. Photo courtesy of Kristi Jones.

The Student Government Association’s President Janeyah Anderson, a junior double majoring in Law, Justice and Society and Urban Development and Policy from Hendersonville, TN provided insight into the rationale behind this decision by highlighting SGA’s core mission. Anderson explained, “The purpose of SGA is to enhance the student experience.” She elaborated on the financial considerations that influenced the policy, pointing out, “The SGA budget is sourced directly from our students’ tuition. Utilizing these funds on guests who are not part of the Lipscomb community does not align with our goal of directly enhancing the experiences of our students. It’s essential that the tuition dollars you contribute are invested back into initiatives that benefit you, the Lipscomb students, directly.”

Last year, students questioned if they were allowed to bring outside dates and were told no. The communicated policy this year enhances security measures due to the Covenant shooting last year. “It’s just a security assurance because there was an incident right before last formal that just made security want to double down, and just ensure the protection of our students at this big event.” Anderson said. 

Freshmen and sophomore students have given Anderson feedback, questioning the decision. She simply says it is out of her hands and is a Lipscomb policy, despite last year’s formal drawing a crowd of around 550 students. The policy caused some students to turn away from the event.

Students dancing on the dance floor in front of the DJ booth. Photo courtesy of Kristi Jones

Naomi Hollans, a sophomore English major from Gallatin, TN, expresses her perspective on the policy, “Just obviously, in general, a lot of people have relationships that are outside of the school that they’d like to bring. I don’t feel like it would be that limiting to, you know, apply for an outside date or like RSVP with an outside date, you know?”

Hollans highlights the contrast between open dorm nights, where students can bring guests into their rooms that do not attend Lipscomb. “I mean, we do open dorm with people who are outside of Lipscomb. And they drop off their driver’s license or an ID, and we consider that safe enough to let them in our rooms. So I don’t see why we couldn’t let them in, like, the Shin Center.” 

Students like Sarah Tiffan, a sophomore new media major from Fort Collins, CO see the necessity behind the policy. Tiffan shares, “I think it makes us safer. You know, it makes sense that we’re not like using Lipscomb student budgets for outside guests. I think it makes students that are going feel safer and more comfortable.” 

Campus is divided on the decision, such as Hollans pointing out the contrast of open dorm nights and Tiffan supporting the policy. This highlights the challenges of balancing security, budgets, and student expectations.