USF Residence Halls

A Place to Hang your Horns

Campus life is an integral part of a complete college experience. The residence halls at USF are not exempt from this and have a history deeply rooted with student activism and social change. At the heart of this history is the fight against restrictive gender policies regarding sign-out and visitation in the early days of USF.

Although dorms at college campuses have earned a reputation of being dens of sin revolving around drugs, sex, and unruly students enjoying their first taste of freedom, much more goes on behind the doors of residence halls on the USF campus. Those who work in USF Housing and Residential Education refer to the USF ‘dorms’ as residence halls because they provide more than a room. They offer formal and informal education and provide residents with a safe, comfortable, and low-cost living arrangement while promoting social and moral development. When intelligent individuals are allowed to room together, the sharing of ideas and opinions can lead to activism and change on a major scale.

In fall 1961, Alpha Hall became the first co-ed residence hall on campus. According to The Oracle, men and women had their own wings separated by an “8-inch concrete wall and two permanently locked doors.” Beta Hall, finished in 1962, and Gamma Hall, finished in 1963, were the next residence halls on campus. Alpha Hall and Gamma Hall both became same-sex halls in the mid-1960s, housing men and women respectively. The policies put in place for the women in Gamma Hall included, but were not limited to: mandatory sign-out system, bed checks, and limited visitation. In the fall of 1970, the women of Gamma Hall protested the mandatory sign-out, a system put in place to keep account of residents within the building. Eighty-two percent of the Gamma residents opposed the policy while the Dean of Women, Margaret Fisher, supported it. In the spirit of gender solidarity, Argos Representative Roy Ashley declared the policy “discriminatory towards women.” Once Dean Fisher abolished the sign-out policy for Gamma Hall, the other halls abandoned the policy as well. Regarding visitation, a policy put in place in 1970 allowed 24-hour visitation policy in the halls. Then in 1971, the policy was repealed due to social stigma against premarital sex and unsupervised opposite sex interactions. The former head of housing, Ray King, did not support the 24-hour policy and referred to the halls as “taxpayer whorehouses.” In the end, the visitation policy was adjusted two more times, returning to the 24-hour policy in 1979.

As of today, the only hall on campus that is single-sex is Lambda Hall and visitation is 24 hours as long as the guest accompanied and the roommate is aware and agrees to the guest’s presence. Alpha and Gamma are still standing, although renamed Kosove and Castor Hall. As of May 2016, five new residence halls are in the process of being built. For students who have the opportunity to live in the new halls, they have the ability to make an impact that will be present for generations of students to come.

Images

Alpha Hall

Alpha Hall

A photo from the campus newspaper of Alpha Hall after construction had concluded in 1961. | Source: USF Tampa Library, Special and Digital Collections | Creator: Tampa Times: University of South Florida Campus Edition View File Details Page

Kosove Hall

Kosove Hall

A present day photo of Alpha Hall, renamed and renovated, yet still standing. | Source: Private Collection of Jasmine Riche | Creator: Jasmine Riche View File Details Page

Lobby of Kosove Hall

Lobby of Kosove Hall

The 8-inch concrete wall has been removed and renovated into a common area for the whole building. | Source: Private Collection of Jasmine Riche | Creator: Jasmine Riche View File Details Page

Beta Hall

Beta Hall

A present day photo of the second residence hall to be built. Renovations have been made to the building, however there are signs of age around the building. | Source: Private Collection of Jasmine Riche | Creator: Jasmine Riche View File Details Page

Castor Hall

Castor Hall

A photo of Gamma Hall, renamed after Former USF President. This hall primarily houses first year students and consist of a common area on each floor, visible through large windows. | Source: Private Collection of Jasmine Riche | Creator: Jasmine Riche View File Details Page

Delta Hall

Delta Hall

This photograph shows Delta Hall built in the 1960's, which was torn down in May 2016 to make way for new residence halls in the same area it stood. | Source: Private Collection of Jasmine Riche | Creator: Kyle Lavoie View File Details Page

Summit and Beacon Hall

Summit and Beacon Hall

These are two skeletons of the five new residence halls to be built by Fall 2018. These are scheduled to be completed by Fall 2017 | Source: Private Collection of Jasmine Riche | Creator: Kyle Lavoie View File Details Page

"Dean Abolishes Mandatory Sign-Out"

"Dean Abolishes Mandatory Sign-Out"

Article referring to the result of Gamma Hall women contesting a housing policy. | Source: USF Tampa Library, Special and Digital Collections | Creator: Ed Conway, The Oracle View File Details Page

"Resolved: Voluntary Sign-Outz"

"Resolved: Voluntary Sign-Outz"

Newspaper article referring to the 1970's housing policy that was contested by the women of Gamma Hall. | Source: USF Tampa Library, Special and Digital Collections | Creator: The Oracle View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Philip Nessi and Jasmine Riche, “USF Residence Halls,” Tampa Historical, accessed December 11, 2018, http://tampahistorical.org/items/show/12.

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