Damages decrease in spring semester

The parties might not be getting any tamer, but students are behaving more responsibly – at least, according to the new Facilities damage report. Since the last report was issued in December 2007, the College has seen a marked drop in damages. After a first semester total of over $3292 in damage fines, the figure has dropped to $1708 this semester. The largest single fine in any house was a broken pool table in Prospect, which cost over $800 dollars to replace.

Bea Miles, Facilities director for the College, said that damages have been declining for the past several months. “What we were going through at the beginning of the year with the bio-cleanups was horrible,” Miles said. “I’m happy to report that the trend has totally turned around.”

Only four houses have exceeded their “damage cap” this semester: Perry, Spencer, Agard and Tyler. According to Facilities, each house is allowed $5 per resident towards any damages the house accrues. According to Miles, several houses managed to avoid having any damage fines this entire year. These include Carter, Fitch, Parsons, Sewall, Mark Hopkins, Morgan, Thompson and West College.

Tyler has had the highest total damages so far this year. The house racked up $1216 last semester but has only been fined $320 so far this spring. Christophe Dorsey-Guillaumin ’10, the Baxter Fellow for Tyler, said that most of the fines came from bio-cleanups and damage to doors and walls. Dorsey-Guillaumin said that the college should increase damage caps for houses that tend to have parties more frequently. “Our residents paid over $40 each last semester,” said Dorsey-Guillaumin, “Most of the time, it’s not our residents who are damaging the house anyway.” He added that the fines have punished the entire house for activities beyond its control. “Some houses have a better space for partying and those will be the ones with the higher damage fines,” Dorsey-Guillaumin said.

Spencer has also been fined $292 this semester with a slight increase in damages since last semester. Spencer Baxter Fellow Jeanie Oudin ’08 said that the main component of the fine came from a bio-cleanup from three to four weeks ago. Since no one came forward to claim responsibility for the bio-cleanup, the entire house was fined $150. Spencer was also charged approximately $70 for a broken window on the first floor. According to Oudin, residents have discussed restrictions on card access, although she does not expect it to pass. Even though the fines are higher than those last semester, Oudin believes that the damages are less severe than before. “Overall, the house has cut down on allowing parties,” Oudin said. “It’s a great space for parties, but people have been unhappy about the cleanups and the fines, and we’ve cut back as a result.”

Among the more unusual damages to the houses was the cost of repairing several washing machines around campus. In a campus-wide e-mail, Miles said that the machines had been damaged by people using a “penny-trick” where one flicks a penny into the back of the coin slot to activate the machine. The e-mail warned that “operating the machines for less than the specified amount is considered theft.” If this problem persists, the college plans to install ID card readers in place of coin slots.

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