University of Kansas

KU student housing has no policy against minors as overnight guests

McCarthy Hall on the University of Kansas campus in Lawrence.
McCarthy Hall on the University of Kansas campus in Lawrence. rsugg@kcstar.com

There are no regulations barring nonstudents or minors from overnight stays at University of Kansas student housing, including McCarthy Hall, a 38-person apartment complex for the KU men’s basketball team and other male students where a 16-year-old girl was reportedly raped in December.

McCarthy Hall has two entrances that residents can use 24 hours a day either by swiping their student ID or using their fingerprint on a scanner. Diana Robertson, KU’s director of student housing, said students living in McCarthy can bring in guests at any hour and overnight.

Unlike at KU’s nonapartment residence halls, she said, guests at McCarthy are not required to sign in. So there’s no log of nonresidents coming and going to the three-story building.

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One student resident assistant and one full-time housing employee, the complex director, live at McCarthy. Robertson said both those positions were filled during the fall semester.

Asked for the week of finals, which ended Dec. 16, Robertson said, “I don’t want to talk about timelines, time frames or anything of that sort … that would interfere with any investigation.”

The reported rape, which KU police are investigating, allegedly occurred between 10 p.m. Dec. 17 and 5 a.m. Dec. 18. Police have not released any information about a suspect, including whether the suspect is a resident at McCarthy or a student.

In addition to the alleged rape, a runaway child was reported at McCarthy Hall around 4 a.m. Dec. 18. No information about the child was listed in a police report, though the runaway was reportedly located and picked up.

Kansas coach Bill Self was asked Thursday during his weekly news conference whether the security procedure at McCarthy Hall needed to change.

“I don’t think that security has anything to do with this potential incident,” he answered, adding McCarthy was a place that provides “more privacy and certainly more security than other dormitories on campus.”

“It’s been a huge asset,” Self said, “(and) it will be a huge asset from a recruiting standpoint in the future.”

KU basketball coach Bill Self spoke to reporters Thursday about the police investigation into a reported rape at McCarthy Hall, where the Jayhawks' men's basketball players and other male students live.

Self’s main focus in his public comments has been about security from his players’ perspective.

When the Kansas Board of Regents approved the construction of the project in January 2014, Self said the new living quarters would be a significant improvement. At Jayhawker Towers, another KU student housing apartment complex, Self said autograph-seekers and others had easier access to his players.

“They deserve to have a situation to live in which they can be monitored, in which they can obviously have more security,” Self said in 2014.

McCarthy Hall is split roughly between members of the basketball team and upperclassmen, all men, in two-bedroom and four-bedroom apartments. Self said Thursday there are 16 spots for players.

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Robertson said players live in apartments throughout the building and aren’t separated from the non-players. A person who lives on the first floor, for instance, has access to the second and third floors. The basketball team, she said, has no influence on who ends up in McCarthy beyond its members.

The KU website states McCarthy is “for single nontraditional students, upperclass students, and transfer students with at least 30 credit hours. … First-year students … may be allowed residence in McCarthy Hall if they can demonstrate a familial relationship with an eligible resident or their participation in an academic or extracurricular program provides the student with substantial structure and support.”

KU’s student housing handbook allows visitors in all but one residence hall, Corbin, at any time.

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“The resident is responsible at all times for his guests and ensuring that the guest’s conduct is appropriate and not disruptive to the community or disrespectful to the rights of any other resident,” the handbook states.

The handbook states that guests visiting between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. must register at a front desk and produce photo IDs. Robertson said that doesn’t apply at McCarthy.

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Jesse Newell: 816-234-4759, @jessenewell

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