By JULIA MAY
Over the past month, Randolph and Mason Halls have been experiencing many issues in regards to the disrespect of common areas, which include the community kitchen areas, community bathrooms and the bike room in Randolph Hall. The issue became such a problem in these halls that Stephanie Martin, the area coordinator for these buildings, was prompted to send an email out to all residents of the halls at the end of October. Residents need to take responsibility for these public areas that everyone shares, as it not only affects other students but also impacts Residence Life and the custodian staff that maintain the buildings.
Despite this email, these incidents have still continued to occur.
In Randolph Hall, the main issues have been with the cleanliness of the community kitchen area, as well as the bike room. In the kitchen area, it is posted for residents to see that dishes and pots must be cleaned after use and put back in their designated drawers. However, residents have instead been leaving dirty in the sink or on the counter. When this happens, other residents don’t have clean dishes to use when they want to make food.
Although the responsibility of the kitchen falls on the residents, RA’s have had to put in extra work to clean up the kitchen when the counters and dishes are left astray. The housekeeping staff has also had to step up to clean up the kitchen when it becomes especially messy.
As Martin noted in her email to the residents of these halls, “If you are unable to conduct yourself in a responsible and mature manner, you are not only doing a disservice to yourself and your college experience, you are also being disruptive to others in your community and being very disrespectful to the staff that spend a great amount of time helping to take care of our community through their diligence in care.”
The disrespect of the bike room in Randolph Hall has also become a growing problem. Some sports teams will leave their bags, equipment and dirty clothes inside the bike rooms, which not only takes up space for bikes but also makes the bike room smell awful. This can make the dorm seem unwelcoming for visitors because of the smell and is disrespectful to all the residents who house their bikes there.
“I walk in and the smell is repulsive… it makes me feel like I’m going to throw up,” said freshman Zachary Georges.
Another issue of the bike room has been the disrespect of other residents’ bikes. Bikes have been flipped upside down, as well as completely knocked over on purpose. For residents on the second floor of Randolph, it can be annoying to have to walk around bikes that are littered all over the floor because people find it funny to mess with the property of others.
In Mason Hall, the main issue has been the community bathrooms. Residents have been leaving their trash in the bathroom trash cans, rather than taking it to the dumpster behind Randolph. At the beginning of the semester, residents were informed that they would lose the privilege of having trash cans in the community areas if personal trash was being put in those cans instead of taken outside. To the many residents that do abide by the trash policy, this could be a huge loss and inconvenience because of the lack of respect of a few residents.
As of this point, little has been done to punish residents, as it has been difficult to identify the students who are causing these issues. According to Martin, if certain students are found to be engaging in these behaviors, they will have to be sent through the student conduct hearing process and could face consequences from the Student Conduct Review Board if found responsible.
As an institution, UMW works to create an environment for students where they feel safe and respected. Keeping this in mind, students also have a duty to each other to respect one another and the UMW community. With these issues happening in Randolph and Mason Halls, residents need to remember that it takes everyone to work together to create a welcoming and pleasant living environment.