Residence Life at Cabrini University is one of the pillars of the student campus experience. One of their main focuses is ensuring students abide by the residence hall rules when living on campus. How do they do that? By conducting health and safety checks.
But before those checks take place, the ResLife staff ensures they train their Resident Assistants thoroughly (Disclaimer: I am currently a Resident Assistant for Cabrini University.) Before classes begin, the RAs come back to campus two weeks early for their training period. During this year’s training, Foster W. Krupp, the west campus area coordinator, gave a presentation on what to look for during health and safety checks.
The main reason health and safety checks are conducted is to make sure residents are living in healthy conditions while following the university’s policies. “The primary purpose of these inspections is for safety reasons. So we’re mainly concerned with plain view searching to address concerns related to health and safety, quite literally,” Krupp said.
He explained, “They take place during the semesters, typically before break periods. They’re usually once or twice a semester,” said Krupp. The break periods include Thanksgiving, winter, and spring breaks.
When conducting room checks, there are a few individuals involved. Krupp said, “Health and safety inspections are conducted with the area coordinator of the area, as well as the resident assistants who live on that floor.”
There are a lot of things ResLife staff is on the lookout for. “A lot of what we’re looking for is fire safety things. Anything that would point to a student having marijuana use in the room, like smoke detectors being covered,” said Emily Lichius, West Hall Resident Assistant. “We’re also looking for any kind of candles, lighters, open flame objects for cooking, rice cookers. Essentially, most of it is fire safety related. But also, there are items that will have to be confiscated. There’s a long list and ResLife has written it out. Normally when they do health and safety checks, they’ll send information out in an email,” Lichius said.
During health and safety checks, there are items that have to be confiscated. Lichius said, “Common questions I’ve received mostly happen when we are conducting the health and safety checks and we have to end up confiscating something, most of it had to do with how do you get your confiscated item back.”
To get an item back, a resident just has to reach out to Reslife. “If anything is confiscated, we take it to our storage in the Residence Life office for the confiscation process. We allow students to pick up their items typically before break periods. They can communicate with their area coordinator if they would like to have one of their confiscated items returned.” Krupp said. “Anything that’s confiscated in terms of cooking supplies or cooking equipment that’s prohibited in the residence halls, or candles, they can be returned. For alcohol containers or alcohol, that’s something that would not be returned.” Krupp said.
Health and safety checks are a ResLife essential, but residents were never the biggest fans of them. Senior health science major Sam Frederick said, “They would only check every once in a while. It seems now they’re checking more frequently, which is a bit frustrating when we’re all busy and might not be there to watch these checks happen.”
Junior social work major Camryn Ratchford said, “I think it’s a little bit ridiculous because they never put that much effort into health and safety checks in past years. It’s weird that this is the last year and they’re all of a sudden on top of it.”
Senior early education major Jennifer Allison said, “Sometimes when they do them when we aren’t there. It feels weird having someone in your space and looking at your stuff. This year they gave a two-week window when they might be coming. It’s hard because you might be napping, changing, or sleeping. You never know when they’re going to come.”
The feeling of privacy being invaded is common. “I feel they cross some boundaries with personal items when really they’re supposed to be checking school-owned things,” Ratchford said. “I was having roommate issues last year in South. Someone from ResLife came to check it out with a public safety officer. As I was giving them the run down, one of them started peeking through the personal drawers in our kitchen,” Ratchford said.
ResLife is following the university policies as well when it comes to the amount of health and safety checks they are doing throughout the year. “Essentially we are doing health and safety checks per the Residential Living Policies and Procedures,” Krupp said. “There is a section on the Residential Living Policies and Procedures for Health and Safety inspections that has it laid out.”