All 45 residents of the second floor of Elizabth Morse Genius Hall will be held financially responsible for damages related to numerous incidents of vandalism. The decision came after Residential Life & Explorations (RLE) held interventions in the hope that the individuals responsible would claim responsibility for their actions.
Dean of Students Leon Hayner, RLE Associate Director Juan Franco, Hall Director Nicole Solomon, and the Elizabeth Hall Resident Assistants (RAs) met on March 2 and decided that the financial costs associated with vandalism repairs, a total of about $2,108, would be equally divided among the residents of the second floor. Each student is required to pay $46.83.
Damages to the second floor include the removal of emergency exit signs from ceilings, trashed bathrooms, broken shower curtains, destroyed paper towel dispensers, broken bathroom mirrors, destroyed urinal partitions, broken housekeeping equipment (such as “wet floor” signs), and the smearing of food items on resident’s doors.
To some students living on the floor, the news of the shared costs is unfair.
“I don’t get any sleep at night because there’s always people screaming in the hallway,” said Elizabeth Hall resident Divya Uppal (‘25). “I’m already being punished just because I’ve had the random unfortunate luck of being assigned to live here. And now on top of that I have to pay money for it.”
The right to charge all students for damages is highlighted in the housing agreement, which must be signed by all students before living on campus. Page five of the agreement states the following: “Students are also responsible for the care of public areas and furnishings. […] If damage is found in a public area of a residence hall, ‘common-billing’ charges may be added to the residents of a section, wing, floor, or entire building (as appropriate). Common damage charges will be divided equally amongst residents of the particular area, as stated in the Housing Agreement.”
“We never want to charge students. But we have to, from a labor intensive perspective,” said Juan Escobar, interim director of RLE.
Franco said that “the toll is not quantifiable in dollars,” as the damages have required the housekeeping staff and the RA’s of Elizabeth Hall to work longer hours.
If the incidents of vandalism continue, members of the March 2 meeting said that residents may be reassigned to other rooms on campus at the discretion of the RLE team, removed from housing selection opportunities for the 2022-2023 academic year, and assigned to on-campus housing randomly without preference.
Additionally, students belonging to Fraternity & Sorority Life (FSL) or athletic organizations on campus may be withheld from attending events and competitions if found responsible.
“Internal vandalism is about the most senseless incident that we see on our campus. Why a student would feel the need to damage the space they live in, the restroom that they use, the fire and life safety equipment that is provided for your own safety is baffling,” said Ken Miller, assistant vice president of Public Safety.
“This is your home. I would challenge students to have ownership, pride, and respect for this hall and the people who live here,” Escobar said.
Students who wish to report information relating to the vandalisms can do so by contacting Graduate Hall Director Nicole Solomon at firstname.lastname@example.org; Associate Director of RLE Juan Franco at email@example.com; Campus Safety at 407-646-2999 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or by submitting an anonymous incident report.