For the second consecutive year, mid-semester damages in campus dorms this semester have decreased from previous years. The current policy of the administration is to charge students residing in a dorm where damage has taken place if the costs of damages inflicted rise above the budget set aside to absorb these dorm damages. This semester has seen lower damage costs compared to previous years. Additionally, unlike previous years, these damages have been fairly dispersed among the various dorms, whereas in past years, Facilities has been able to determine one or two dorms where most of the damages take place. We at the Record are pleased to see that our peers are respecting the spaces we live in on campus and furthermore hope this trend signals the demise of the “problem dorm” label that has been frequently applied to dorms such as Perry or Tyler Annex.
Although we can see issues with the fact that students who were not involved in the debauchery would then pay for the mess inflicted, we largely agree with the administration’s policy. By charging all students for damages inflicted in their dorms, it acts as a deterrent for students to be accepting of out-of-control or unregistered parties to avoid monetary punishment. If the College absorbed the cost of damages instead of students, there would be fewer incentives for students to be careful and maintain the cleanliness and order of public spaces. However, the administration needs to create more awareness of the dorm damage policy; many students are unaware that they can be charged for questionable activity in their shared common rooms until they open up PeopleSoft (or receive a call from their less than thrilled parents) and see a charge on their term bills. Perhaps if a notification went out to all students in the dorm explaining that they were being charged for dorm damages after an event, more students would be aware of the procedures involved and their involvement in regulating destruction in their dorms.
Additionally, we might suggest a small deposit be made on a housing bill for every student per semester, which could then be used to absorb the cost of dorm damages if needed. This deposit would be returned to the student at the end of the semester if the damages in a dorm did not exceed the allocated monetary cap. While this may solve the problem of students being unaware of where their money is going in regards to damage costs, there is still more of a deterrent to allowing peers to destroy dorm spaces with the system that we use now.
Overall, we are pleased with the current trend of less money being spent to absorb dorm damages and hope that the College can do the courtesy of informing students in a more visible way than simply updating PeopleSoft when students will be charged for destruction.