Main entrance of the American University in Dubai. 18 Feb, 2020. Farah Mohamed.

AUD Campus Should Be More Open to Visitors

We all understand why students are not allowed to bring in unauthorized visitors on campus, whether they are family members or friends. The student handbook is clear: in order to maintain an environment committed to learning and “unless approved by the President, Executive Vice President, or the Communications Office, unauthorized visitors are not permitted in AUD classrooms, team rooms, studios, and non-instructional areas.”

These restrictions imposed among others for security reasons have a rationale, but may sometimes be too strict. Authorized visitors are for instance not allowed past the designated reception area without an official escort. Moreover, according to the student handbook, “no authorized visitors are to be left unsupervised by their escorts at any location where the AUD learning process takes place, including, but not limited to, libraries, cafes, or lounges.” The handbook states that disciplinary action may be taken if a violation of this §provision occurs.

I am not the only AUD student who believes that these restrictions should be eased. Of course, we must ensure that the university maintains a safe and secure learning environment. But visitors could be allowed to enter the campus and visit non-instructional areas — of course after presenting a valid identity card at the gate to receive a badge. No prior invitation should be required, in order to keep the process flexible. And we agree that no visitors should be allowed elsewhere, including dorms, without proper authorization and official escort. 

AUD may not be a historical landmark attracting tourists like Cambridge or Oxford, but it could surely benefit from opening its doors to visitors. AUD shouldn’t just let the public in for major events, like concerts or film festivals. Having more lenient rules would bring in more people, and thus allow the general public to get to know the university better and showcase all it has to offer. Students would also feel more proud of their university when they show the campus to their friends and relatives. And it could be more rewarding for students to participate in events – open mic sessions, exhibitions, film screenings – knowing that everybody can attend, and not just the familiar faces of AUD. An open campus would be a better reflection of AUD’s values regarding diversity, which distinguishes us from other educational institutions.

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