Four houses charged for damages, overall numbers below average

Despite the recent hype around bio-cleanups, total damage costs in student dorms this semester tally $2800 thus far, falling well below the $3400 fall semester average of recent years.

Students in four houses – Agard, Spencer, Hubbell and Tyler – face a combined $1850 in property and bio-cleanup-related damage charges.

Bea Miles, director of Facilities, explained that, despite a number of bio-cleanups and other incidents, the semester has been relatively quiet. While student residences saw damages fall from past years, public spaces like the Paresky Center, however, have taken a hit with several reported incidents of both bio-cleanup and property damages. “Students are beginning to target more public places, rather than individual houses,” Miles said. “They aren’t as concerned about property they can’t be held liable for.”

Each dorm has a damage cap of five dollars per resident. Houses that exceed this amount are responsible for covering the entire payment, including the costs that would have been covered by the cap. Spencer and Hubbell have exceeded their limits by $70 and three dollars, respectively, putting their total house damage costs at $193.97 and $108.85. To cover these costs, Spencer residents will be charged $7.76 apiece and Hubbel residents will be charged just over five dollars apiece. Agard and Tyler ratcheted up damages in excess of $550 and $992 respectively, and will have to split $18.85 and $29.19 between residents.

Agard’s Baxter Fellow, Meagan Muncy ’10, is unsurprised by her house’s totals. “Most of us know it’s just a fact of life, frankly,” she said. Muncy attributes most of the charges to damages, including a broken windowpane and chair, resulting from the actions of house residents.

Spencer house owes $200 for two broken windows and a bio-cleanup that required the replacement of a trash bin. According to Spencer Baxter Fellow Jeanie Oudin ’08, the College needs to differentiate perpetrators from residents. “I’m angry and my house is angry, because no one really knows who should take responsibility,” she said, “[The College] should’ve looked into who was responsible for the damages before simply billing the entire house.”

Both Oudin and Muncy cite faulty communication as a source of frustration in their position. “I wish that we could hear directly from Facilities, instead of having to wait for news to be relayed through Campus Life,” Muncy said.

Tyler has been hit with the most costly damages this semester, as residents have had to contend with charges stemming from four separate cleanup-related incidents. Christophe Dorsey-Guillaumin ’10, Baxter Fellow for the house, said that the charges have elicited strong reactions from residents. “The damage charges push us to go through an investigation to identify and pressure those responsible,” said Dorsey. In addition to being billed for the damages, Tyler has been placed on a two-week lockdown and will not be allowed to hold parties for the remainder of the semester.

Hubbell Baxter Fellow Jared Currier ’09 expressed anger at what he sees as frivolous charges. Hubbell exceeded its damage cap by three dollars, meaning that residents will be charged for the entire $108.85 cost of damages. “Even though [each resident’s charge] is only five dollars, it’s the principle that makes it so bad,” Currier said. Hubbell’s damages are the result of a bio-cleanup still under investigation.

In an effort to curb damages, both Agard and Spencer are requiring student groups who hold parties in their residences to sign waivers releasing residents from liabilities.

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