In light of the evacuation of the Dixon House last week, the Loquitur editorial staff would like to reflect on what it means to be a resident student. Living in a residence hall may not always be easy, but if definitely can be one of the best parts of a college education.
It is without a doubt that resident students have a different experience than commuter students. The residence halls provide an incredible sense of community that just cannot be compared to any other aspect of college life.
Not only is it great to be able to live under the same roof as all of your friends and classmates, residence halls also provide the opportunity for personal growth. Learning how to co-exist peacefully with all different kinds of people is an attribute that can assist anyone greatly later on in adult life.
While most students really appreciate the opportunity to live away from home, it is not always easy. Roommate issues, violations of privacy, disturbances due to noise and crude behavior are common issues at every college around the country. These problems are to be expected and luckily members of the Residence Life staff, from directors to area coordinators and student resident assistants, are trained to help resident students solve problems and enjoy their time in the hall.
There is a certain trust that is necessary between Residence Life and students and their families. The Loquitur editorial staff feels like that trust has been broken here at Cabrini through the evacuation of the Dixon House.
As many of us Loquitur editors know through our communication with the student body and student ambassador program, the residence halls are a major interest for perspective families on tours. Parents, as well as the hundreds of students who take out loans to attend college, want to make sure their money is going to be well spent and they will be accommodated comfortably and safely. Families and residents alike trust that their new residence is being well maintained. Here is where the trust has been broken.
According to the Student Handbook, “The Office of Residence Life reserves the right to change or modify a student’s housing assignment as necessary.” While there was an emergency at hand, students were left without answers to their questions. Those required to fit strangers into their lives should have been given a fairer warning than five hours. We should have been respected.
The 66 displaced students, predominately sophomores, did not deserve a forced evacuation due to the mold infesting Dixon House. They did not deserve to have to say goodbye to their friends and roommates to go live with complete strangers. They certainly did not deserve to be herded about campus, some multiple times, due to lack of planning and health violations.
The students living in houses, West and CAC were required to take a majority of the displaced underclassmen in. Upperclassmen did not deserve to have to re-arrange their own comfortable rooms. Those who are 21 did not deserve to have to take 19 year olds into their on-campus apartments so as to ruin the adult atmosphere they have been awaiting throughout their college tenure.
Why did these students not deserve any of this? Because the mold in the Dixon House is not a new issue. Yes, there were unprecedented amounts of rain due to Hurricane Irene. However, this recent rainfall did not cause the mold. The rain simply aggravated an already existing condition, which should have been taken care of a long time ago. Students living in Dixon last year had to have mold scraped out of their ventilation systems.
Upperclassmen were never told there was an emergency situation. Obviously, this situation is nothing to be proud of, but Residence Life did not disclose any information about what was happening to the students who were expected to take in new roommates. They did not even so much as provide the names of the new roommates to upperclassmen.
“Residence Life is dedicated to promoting a secure and welcoming living learning community that provides an enjoyable experience, valuing individuals as engaged and socially responsible members of their community,” the Student Handbook states.
While the inconvenience was enough to burden students, the health risks are another aspect being taken into consideration. Risks of mold include: skin rash, eye irritation, headaches, fatigue, sore throat, shortness of breath (experienced heavily by students with asthma), runny nose or sinuses and nosebleeds according to WebMD. Students were put at risk and yet we have no answers as to why. Residence Life declined to comment.
Residence Life put their own negligence on the back of the students, the very same students who pay to live here and the very same students who contribute to the Cabrini community.
While we understand we are currently residing on Cabrini property and Cabrini reserves the rights to handle their property as they so choose, The Loquitur editorial staff wants Residence Life to remember, these are our temporary homes. As resident students, we ask to be given the same respect that Cabrini strives to instill in us. We, the hardworking students and we, the children of sacrificing parents, are trusting that you will.