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Summer Housing, Hot Mess

in Opinions/Staff Editorials by

As the semester begins to wrap up, students are swamped with a variety of emotions. Some seniors are feeling nostalgic toward leaving Swarthmore, yet excited for what lies ahead. Other students are drowning in final papers but relieved that this semester is finally coming to a close. They are ready for a chance to refresh and new opportunities around the corner. Yet, for many Swatties staying on campus this year, this summer may not look as promising or be as well-organized as they had hoped. Instead, these Swatties are dreading the one option for summer housing and many are unsure if they will have housing at all.

We at the Phoenix find the housing situation for this summer particularly problematic and unfair to the students staying at Swarthmore. All students will be housed in Mary Lyons Dormitory, which is the furthest dorm from campus as well as one of the furthest dorms from the train station. Considering that students will either be doing research with professors on campus, helping with summer camps around campus, working on campus, or completing an internship that requires public transportation to Philadelphia or Chester, ML is the least practical option for students staying on campus. Instead, it provides the most inconvenience and offers the most difficulty for students working at Swat this summer.

We at the Phoenix acknowledge that it would make sense to place students in ML if they had no other dorms available, if the dorm provided housing to the largest amount of students, or if the dorm offered some practical benefits that other dorms can’t. However, ML possesses none of these qualities. Swarthmore obviously has plenty of other dorms on campus for housing students. Even given that Swarthmore hosts many summer camps that require lodging for prospective or incoming students, these camps will not require all of the rooms in Wharton, Willets, Alice Paul, David Kemp, Parrish, Dana, Hallowell, and Danawell. Besides, while many prospective and incoming student camps may take place for two to six weeks, most of the students conducting research, interning, or working on campus will be here all summer, meaning they deserve convenient housing options, considering their stay at Swarthmore for the summer is much more permanent.

ML is also the dorm with the largest amount of singles. While this may sound like a benefit, since ML would offer more students the opportunity to live alone, this means that it houses fewer students. With fewer rooms to offer, more students are left on the summer housing waitlist, potentially without any housing at all this summer. For low-income students or students relying on living at Swat for the summer, this situation is extremely stressful and problematic. Rose See ’19, a student placed on the summer housing waitlist, upon finding out she would most likely not have housing for the summer, stated that she was terrified that she would not be able to carry out her campus job for the summer. She describes how “she had nowhere else to go” and “summer housing at Swarthmore was how she expected to have a place to live until the end of the summer.” When See mentioned this to Residential Life, their response was that they simply could not offer a room because they give priority to students conducting research and only have a limited number of rooms to offer. This situation means that not only are students left to stress about where to live, but they are also made to feel less valued at the college because it is as if they are not seen as worthwhile to the college if they are not serving a research purpose. Luckily, See was able to find housing in the Barn for the entirety of summer and will keep her summer job working in the Peace Collection library, but many students on the waitlist may not be as lucky.

Finally, we at the Phoenix emphasize that ML offers no practical benefits to students that makes it a viable option to house students. The dorm only has one small kitchen in the basement, meaning it will be difficult for more than a few students to consistently cook meals for themselves despite the fact that Sharples is only open for limited hours. The dorm also does not provide air conditioning except in the main lounge, promising an uncomfortable and humid experience for summer students.

Ultimately, we at the Phoenix are disappointed by the summer housing situation offered by the college and believe that Swarthmore should take into consideration both the practical problems of living in ML as well as the concerns and difficulties that the dorm will impose for the students. Students staying at Swarthmore for the summer clearly care for the college and want to dedicate their time toward contributing to the community. The housing situation should provide the same support and concern for the students as well.

New suite style dorms to be built for 2017

in Around Campus/News by

The college will build new suite-style housing alongside the baseball fields next to PPR, scheduled to be open in the Fall 2017 semester. The new residential building, tentatively called NPPR (or New PPR), will ensure that there will be a sufficient amount of on-campus housing to accommodate the anticipated growth in student body over the coming years.

The planning process for the new residential hall began one and a half years ago with the combination of the input from students, a committee and the Dean’s office. Studies were conducted on possible dorm sites, taking into account how construction would affect the layout of campus and student population density. One of the driving factors in the decision to construct NPPR was to adhere to the college’s plan to increase the size of the student body by creating more bed space.

“As part of the college’s strategic plan, the college will see a small increase in total student enrollment,” said Dean Rachel Head. “The opening of New PPR in the Fall of 2017 will allow us to comfortably house all students who would like to live in campus housing.”

The suite style housing will be built as an expansion on the PPR Cluster, which is currently made up of Palmer, Pittinger and Roberts Halls. The NPPR will have a total of 21 suites, containing an average of five people each, for a total capacity of 121 residents. The new hall will back up against the baseball fields, and an intentional quad space will be formed between the new building and the existing halls of Palmer, Pittinger and Roberts.

“We want to create a vibrant outdoor space and provide for a mass of people around the same size as Danawell, AP or DK, [of] about 300 students,” said Susan Smythe, ADA Program Coordinator. “This will make up a good sized community so that students won’t feel marooned, but more energized.”

Students have expressed scepticism about the ability of suite-style housing to increase the social dynamic on campus. “From what I’ve seen of suite living at Yale, it’s not very conducive for hall life,” said Jacky Ye ‘19. “They’re great for throwing parties and for social gatherings, if you get along with your suitemates, but don’t encourage you to leave your suite to get to know the people living next to you.”

In addition to creating more living space, the suite-style housing will provide a more independent and apartment-style atmosphere than most campus dorms. According to Head, many students, especially upperclassmen, expressed their desire to have alternative on-campus housing to the usual dorm buildings. NPPR will provide a more apartment-style living space and will likely include the option for students to opt-out of the meal plan, as part of the college’s intended changes to the meal plan in the future.

“I can imagine that the option to be on a reduced meal plan, or no meal plan, might appeal to students for a variety of different reasons, [such as] religious needs, dietary restrictions, scheduling issues, etc.,” said Dean Head. “For example, we have heard from seniors who are student teaching that having greater freedom on when and how they eat would be appreciated.”

The suite style housing, which includes kitchen facilities, and the proposed changes in the meal plan would allow students more independence and flexibility in how and when they have meals.

“We shouldn’t be forced by the school to buy their meal plan just on principle,” said Colin Salama ‘19. “There is significant pressure to eat with other people in Sharples, and Essies doesn’t even open until 8 for dinner meal swipes. If there were no meal plans, you could eat whenever without feeling pressured to do so and choose to cook for yourself or get take-out.”

One main focus throughout the design process has been the need to adhere to high environmental standards and create a sustainable building. According to Smythe, the design of the building was repeatedly compared to similar residential buildings to make it as efficient and sustainable as possible.

“[Environmental standards] are exceptionally important and the planning process can’t happen without taking those standards into account,” said Dean Head. “Last year, the College hosted a planning meeting to talk about environmental standards and sustainability; a number of students, faculty, and staff met with the architects and design firms working on the building.”

Photovoltaic roofing will be incorporated into the building design to provide electricity. The building will also use geothermal ground source heating implement a rain-water collection system to gather water for toilets. Shower water meters will be put in place to promote awareness on water usage. Composting bins will be available, as will guidance on what and how to compost. The small bedrooms and lack of lounges will also reduce NPPR’s carbon footprint. Research may also be conducted using NPPR to see how much energy is saved by incorporating sustainable elements.

Construction is set to begin later on in the spring semester, but many of the details are still being worked out. Questions such as those of sustainability continue to be under discussion, and student input is being weighed in the planning of future buildings and projects.

Students dive into home decorating

in Campus Journal/Dorm Dive by

One of the many hardships that first-years face is the task of creating a comfortable living space. And no, I am not talking about the dilemma of finding extra-long mattress padding in department stores. Let’s scratch Webster’s definition of a dorm being “a building, as at a college, containing a number of private or semiprivate rooms for residents, usually along with common bathroom facilities and recreation areas.” Blah — Your dorm isn’t just a building or a room, it’s a space uniquely ‘you’. And it will never again possess that same uniqueness as when you and your dormmates occupy it. But let’s be honest, making a space your own is easier said than done. It is an art form with the power to evoke warm tributes to home and childhood nostalgia. Depending on what you chose to hang on your walls, your decorations may also generate lively debates about sports teams or much-needed motivation when midterms come. Home-making in a dorm is quite a gift, and some students have it down to a science —

Edward Jones ’19, a resident of Parrish Third West, is one of those people. Jones put a classic spin on his dorm décor by decorating according to his passions and interests. One poster, a framed Picasso rendition of a scene from Don Quijote, is mounted slightly to the right above his bed.

“I read the book in 7th grade,” he said. “I had come across the poster and picked it up, thinking it would make for a nice tribute to my favorite book.”

In addition to the Picasso, he also boasts his favorite T.V. show through a poster of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

He also decided to showcase something a little different…

He led me out into the hall where a life-sized cardboard cutout of pro-wrestler John Cena stands at the hall entrance in his legendary pose with arms crossed and fingers splayed in front of his face. Yes, John Cena. This peculiar hall décor has become a hub of hall bonding on Third West, where residents frequently crack jokes about its presence.

Another resident of Parrish, Valerie Blakeslee ’19 of Fourth East, decided to go a different route with her dorm decor by decorating her walls with images of her hometown, Seattle. She proudly displays an 11×17 poster of the city’s most prominent attraction, the Space Needle, adorned with a pinkish-lavender skyline and the esteemed Mount Rainier in the background. “When I look at it, it reminds me of the skyline I’m familiar with; I recognize a lot of the buildings in the poster from whenever I go into downtown Seattle,” she says. But her tribute to home doesn’t end there. On another wall hangs a poster of a 747 Boeing with the inscription “I’m In!” in her football team’s blue and lime-green colors.

“I received the Seahawks poster from a job shadow I completed in Seattle,” she shared. When asked what prompted her to bring it all the way to Swat, she immediately began to talk about the upcoming football season, saying:

“I want to be ‘twelving’ for Philadelphia. Which basically means being supportive of the Seahawks wherever I go — even if I’m not in Seattle!”

She then turned to the far wall where an inspirational banner hangs against the closet door. In the center of the banner is the Chinese character, fu, meaning good fortune and blessings.

“It was a gift from my family,” she explained.

Our homes away from home at Swarthmore are so much more than what we may see them as at this present moment. They are not places where we simply rest our heads after a long day, but where we dream of the many wonderful things to come as emerging citizens in our communities. They are not just where we hurriedly finish up a reading before an 8:30AM class, they are the places in which we conceptualize our thoughts and find ways to apply our newfound knowledge to our passions. Nor are they spaces for brief encounters with acquaintances, but the foundational setting for the creation of binding ties between folks we once called strangers, but have come to call family. From Jones’s quirky method of bonding with hall mates over John Cena jokes, to Blakeslee’s hometown repping by way of her posters, students are finding their own ways to represent old homes and create new ones. It’s your turn now, create your unique space!

 

Sex and Nerf guns? Trying to move past our vision of ML

in Campus Journal by

Like most people on campus, I’ve always had a well-defined idea of “Mary Lyon culture,” and, like most opinions on campus, this conception was based mostly off conjecture and rumor rather than facts or actual experience. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve visited ML, and I can’t name more than a few people I know who have actually lived there. Yet for myself and many others — including the editor who gave me this assignment — those two little letters have always connoted a land where nerds, nudists, and Nerf gun warriors run wild, a mysterious dorm far away, geographically and culturally, from the main campus.

In fact, while ML may be a bit of a hike from the rest of the college, the dorm is not exactly “quirky” in the way our dominant on-campus mythology constructs it. Current and former ML residents, in fact (including a nudist and one of the founders of the famed human-vs.-zombie Nerf gun wars) pointed out that the dorm’s most unique and consistent feature is an incredibly strong, involved sense of community, a place where people easily make a lot of friends.

***

Doriana Thornton ’16 lived in ML for a year and half. They spent their first semester of freshman year hanging out in ML every chance they could, and then moved in with a senior for the spring. The following year, Thornton lived in the dorm in a single.

Thornton was drawn to ML largely due to the residents, rather than any “quirky” activities.

“For me, what made ML so special was the people that lived there with me my freshman year and the closeness I had with them,” Thornton said. “Having people that shared my interests in sex positivity and body positivity was so cool.”

Asked how they found their way to ML in the first place, Thornton let loose their signature laugh and said, “It’s actually a pretty hilarious story.” After their Abuse and Sexual Assault Prevention orientation workshop, Thornton mentioned to their workshop facilitator that they enjoyed playing strip Apples to Apples (similar to strip poker) at home. The facilitator encouraged Thornton to come to ML that Friday evening, when the game would take place.

“I was just really happy to be around that,” Thornton remembered fondly. Earlier that day, during an orientation ice-breaker, Thornton had been asked what they were most worried about at the college. “I had said, ‘Not being able to be naked, just around, like I can be at home,” Thornton remembered. Thus, being able to hang out naked in ML was “just really funny and really nice.”

The same night of the game, Thornton met someone who would remain their close friend throughout their first semester at the college. “We went and danced naked in the woods, and it was such a great experience. And that was my first time in ML,” they concluded, laughing again.

Thornton also enjoyed the distance between ML and the rest of campus, and said that it made them more likely to go for lengthy walks. “When I lived in ML, I walked a lot more and was a lot more willing to go on walking adventures,” Thornton said (they now reside in the Barn). “I remember doing ridiculous shit and walking to ridiculous places in the freezing cold.”

ML breakfast is also a unique and positive feature of life in the dorm, Thornton emphasized. They worked in the ML breakfast room for three semesters. Anyone can order “kooky” food, Thornton said — “We have food coloring and sprinkles and shit, and we’ll make you something neat, and we’ll sing … it’s pretty nutty … I made dope-ass omelets all day.”

Thornton, like the other ML residents I spoke to, talked about their time in the dorm with happiness and ease. “ML was great, just great people,” they said. “There were always just a lot of people in their hallways, in their rooms — it was pretty easy, most days, to walk around and hear something happening, and to just go into that person’s room and hang out with them.”

I was curious if this was a quality that pertained to the dorm itself, or came more from the people who ended up living there. “I honestly do think it was the people that lived there,” Thornton said. They reflected that their sophomore year was not quite as enjoyable as their freshman year, as many people had moved out. “I did still make really close friends, but I found myself sleeping more often in places that weren’t ML, and kind of bringing a community of people that didn’t live in ML over there to hang out, instead of already having those great people there,” Thornton said.

Thornton remembers too many funny ML stories to tell, they said — for instance, a Nerf gun battle once transformed into an eight-hour cuddle-fest. They also reflected on the way in which ML created a space for them to feel comfortable with and learn more about their own sexuality. “ML was where I got to explore my kinkiness,” Thornton said. During their freshman year, what Thornton referred to as a “high concentration of kinky people” lived in ML, and contributed to this comfortable atmosphere. (For more about kinky activity on campus, check out “Whips and chains excite them, sometimes,” in the first-ever issue of the Swarthmore Review, which mounted an exploration of BDSM at the college.) “I had never had the chance to explore such an important part of my sexuality before coming to college — actually, I hadn’t had a chance to explore much of my sexuality at all — and it was really cool to find people who had similar interests, or at least were not appalled by mine,” Thornton said.

ML culture is by no means static, Thornton pointed out. “I think the culture changes every year based on who’s living there,” they said. “There’s always an underlying culture of people who are into nerdy shit … actually, I don’t know. I have no idea — I mean, athletes used to live there and have crazy parties,” Thornton said, referencing the common story, difficult to substantiate but probably true, that ML was, years ago, inhabited almost exclusively by varsity athletes.

Thornton saw change within the dorm even on a year-to-year basis. “I know that during my sophomore year there weren’t as many sex-positive people … I had fewer friends there because dynamics were just different. For me, at least, every year’s been really different.”

The ML environment is also subjective, Thornton pointed out. “The culture also depends on where you are — like, how you feel at home in a place depends on where you’re at and what you need,” they said. “So I don’t know if any dorm has a culture … I pushed myself over there and spent all my time there because I felt so at home, but I haven’t been back this year. I’m not scared to go back or anything — it’s just that that place had so much meaning to me my freshman years and then a very different meaning my sophomore year … I don’t know, I just haven’t been back.”

***

Josh Ginzberg ’15 was placed in ML as an incoming freshman, and was initially nervous about living in the dorm, but, after sophomore year on campus, came back to ML as a SAM and now serves as an RA.

Ginzberg’s favorite feature of ML life is the strong sense of community. “I think a lot of dorms have difficulty with this, maybe because of the structure or because of the people in them, with cross-hall interaction, but ML has no problem with that,” Ginzberg said. As a freshman living on the second floor, Ginzberg’s friends were on different floors and of different class years.

“It was just a really great dorm community,” he said. “It really does tend towards a real dorm community, and then people find their groups of friends and everything, but there’s definitely a lot of interaction across all halls and class years.” Ginzberg thinks this stems in part from ML’s distance from the rest of campus. “I have no doubt that’s a function of being so far away from everyone else, but it’s also a lot about the people,” he said.

I asked Ginzberg about fun ML activities, and he mentioned movie screenings in the first-floor lounge, along with ice-cream parties. But I told him that what I really wanted to know about were the Nerf wars. To my surprise, Ginzberg revealed that he was actually one of the creators and first participants in the Nerf wars, which many on campus think of as an ML institution, but is actually a recent (and recently lapsed) phenomenon.

Ginzberg treated me to a brief history of the brief tradition. “I came to college, and I was like, ‘Oh, college means Nerf guns,’” Ginzberg said. As someone whose well-meaning yuppie parents did not allow them to possess any fake weaponry as a child, including Nerf and water guns — I was given a spray bottle instead, which was, needless to say, immensely dissatisfying — I can see the appeal and also the logic behind this statement.  “A couple of other people thought the same thing, including my roommate,” Ginzberg recalled. The purchase of several cheap Nerf guns, and then the they ran around the dorm “pursuing and hunting each other,” Ginzberg said.

The Nerf wars rapidly grew in size, averaging twenty five to thirty participants each week (if only I could get this many people to write for the Phoenix or play women’s rugby…), until, at one point in Ginzberg’s sophomore year, 65 people showed up. “That was way too much — we had to restrict it to ML-only at that point, because it’s a residential space,” Ginzberg said ruefully.

Usually, Ginzberg explained, Nerf wars are conducted in what he called “humans-vs.-zombies mode,” which removes some of the competitive aspect of the game, as the zombies inevitably emerge as the victors. “There’s less cheating that way,” Ginzberg explained, “less of people saying that they didn’t feel a Nerf dart, because when you’re running with adrenaline you don’t feel a Nerf dart.”

In humans-vs.-zombies mode, humans shoot at zombies, who, if hit, must “go down” for thirty seconds. If a zombie tags a human, however, the human must become a zombie for the rest of the match, meaning that the number of zombies is constantly increasing. “You get some really creative people hiding behind doors, some humans trying to camp out in really open spaces so that they can see where people are coming from,” Ginzberg recalled.

Seeming to further prove the idea that ML culture changes from year to year, however, Ginzberg said that the Nerf wars have tapered off this year, due mostly to seniors’ lack of interest. “There hasn’t been as much enthusiasm, but there’s still a box of Nerf guns, so if people want to do that, they definitely can,” Ginzberg said.

Ginzberg thinks that the design of ML contributes to its communal feel, specifically the first-floor lounge. “You walk in and you’re in the biggest gathering space in the dorm, and that makes it very easy to join whatever’s going on — there’s always lots of hanging out, and we’ve got a TV in there and I think a PlayStation or something, and people just gather.”

So if ML is so great, why does it get such a bad reputation? Ginzberg thinks this is mostly because of the distance. “I can’t imagine why else it would get a bad rap,” he said. “It is far, for people who aren’t used to the walk or don’t like rolling out of bed and running to class, but I got to class a lot later when I lived on campus — it teaches time management pretty well, because you pretty much have to learn.”

I asked Ginzberg about people who might not enjoy or participate as fully in ML’s community. He again chalked this up mostly to distance. “It’s not like other dorms — you can’t just walk to the dorm that’s twenty feet away,” Ginzberg said. “You actually have to make an effort to get on campus, and it definitely is hard for some people.”

Others, though, Ginzberg remarked, like the distance, particularly those people who might want more alone time or space from the rest of campus. “You do get a bunch of different sorts of people in ML, some who really love the community and some who try to make or join another community,” he said. “It just takes some time to settle in, maybe a month or two, or there are some people for whom it never really clicks.”

I kept pressing, though — what about ML’s reputation as a nerd haven? “There’s definitely a very large contingent of people who do like some of the more classic nerd stuff — I would say I’m one of them — but I’d also say that there are plenty of people on campus who get attracted to that stuff who never live in ML and honestly never visit,” Ginzberg said.

So where does the stigma come from? “It would be unfair of me to say that ML gets its rep from people who haven’t been there, but a lot of proponents of ML’s more negative reputation have never been there, or have gone once and have had some bad experience and concluded that that encapsulated the dorm,” Ginzberg said.

Ginzberg expressed concern that this incorrect perception might frighten first-years who were assigned to live there. “There are things that are true — it does appeal to people who are comfortable being far from some of the social centers on campus and sometimes that does include a greater than average proportion of science-fiction/fantasy fans, more classic nerd people … I personally don’t see why it’s a negative but otherwise I don’t think it deserves much of what it gets,” Ginzberg said. “A lot of the reputation is from years ago,” he added, referencing ML’s history as a gathering space for the Swarthmore Warders of Imaginative Literature, the precursor to the modern-day science fiction/fantasy club which organizes the annual Pterodactyl Hunt and campus-wide live-action role play, Psi Phi.

“It changes every few years,” Ginzberg concluded. “The fact that it used to be a place where so many varsity athletes gravitated towards, and then became a place for SWIL, and in the years I’ve been here has been neither, and has been a very community-oriented space … I don’t know if it’s going to stay that way, but that’s been my experience of it.”

 

Rape-related graffiti found in dorm

in Breaking News/News by

“Rape dungeon.”

These words, scrawled above a door, greeted the residents of lodge three when they walked into their basement. It wasn’t the only offensive phrase written in the lodge’s lower level. The graffiti included a comment, “Mia survived,” that seems to be about sexual assault victim Mia Ferguson ‘15, who complained last spring to the federal Department of Education about the school’s handling of sexual misconduct.

MiaSurvived
Among the different markings, “Mia survived” was written in the basement.

One of the lodge’s previous residents is currently suspended pending the resolution of sexual assault charges.

According to Daniel Eisler ’15, who lived in lodge four last year, from what he could tell, the graffiti was at least a year old.

“Last year I was in lodge three basement multiple times from the very beginning of the year,” Eisler said. “I didn’t notice any change in the graffiti on the basement.”

But Eisler, who added that last year’s residents were also perturbed by the writings, said that from what he recalled, the graffiti said “sex dungeon,” not “rape dungeon.”

This year, when a lodge resident mentioned the graffiti to friends, a resident assistant (RA) that overheard the conversation reported the story to the assistant dean of residential life, Racheal Head.

The RA informed the resident that she would tell Head about the instance of graffiti. What happened next, however, was a surprise to the lodge residents.

“My roommate Joe and I were just sitting in the triple and we heard voices [coming] from the basement,” said Kai Richter ’16, a lodge three resident.

After the voices stopped, the residents went down to see what happened. “When we went down,” Richter said, “the doors were locked.”

Head explained that after receiving the complaint, school staff locked and subsequently sealed off the basement. “We went to check out the space, found the graffiti, and put in a work order to have that location secured,” Head said.

But according to the students in lodge three, it wasn’t until after the college had inspected and locked their basements that the school formally notified them that the basement had been sealed off. And even then, it was only the lodge’s two female residents who were informed.

“Nehmat and I got an email yesterday from Rachel that was only to us, to women in the lodge,” said Catricia Morris ’16, another lodge three resident.

“I am so sorry that you all had to deal with seeing this space,” Head wrote in the message. “The person making the report did not provide your names but, rather, just reported that some of the residents of lodge three had been impacted. I write to you all not knowing who may have seen this space but to assure you that we will resolve this ASAP.”

Head explained that her decision to email the female residents was partially based on the fact that she had heard that the student who reported the graffiti was a woman.

“I emailed the individuals who we believed may have made the complaint,” she said, adding that she wanted to make sure the residents were okay. “We contacted some of the residents because we wanted to make sure we offered them any support necessary, and to assure them that their report was heard.”

She added that the school did not think it was necessary to contact the lodge residents, given that the lodge basements were all connected to Bond Hall and accessible without going through residential rooms. “We would not have necessarily notified the residents ahead of time because we were not going into their dorm or residential space,” Head said, adding that it was common for the school to send staff to inspect college spaces subject to complaints.

“This was really not any different than us accessing a basement or storage space,” she said.

It wasn’t just the lodge three basement that was sealed.

“While we were downstairs, we found a few other rooms that were open, and we locked theI again,” said Head. “We have decided to continue to limit access to the basements, as they are not considered residential space. The space is not ideal due to flooding issues and fire safety.”

But some, like Eisler, disagree with the decision.

“I didn’t notice anything that was unsafe,” Eisler, who disagrees that the lodge basements should be sealed off. “We had a hurricane come through, and the lodges didn’t flood.”

Current residents of lodge three said that their basement also did not flood on September 2nd, when many other building basements, including the Parrish and Mary Lyons basement, did flood.

Head, however, said that the basements had experienced flooding in the past, and emphasized that restricting access to the lodge basements is not new policy.

“Several years ago, access to basement of the lodges was restricted, and we transitioned to not having individual kitchens in those spaces,” she said.

She added that this policy shift was made clear on the website.

“We did let students know of the change and have had it in the dorm descriptions since that time,” she said.

But current and former lodge residents say that it could have been made more clear to them.

“I’ve never officially been told by anyone that I wasn’t supposed to go down here,” said Richter.

Eisler agreed, adding that many of the basement appliances, including electrical outlets and the kitchen refrigerator and stove, were still turned on and functioning. At times, he said, it seemed as if the college was aware and accepting of their use of the basement.

“There was a sign placed on the door to the basement at one point that said ‘please place all trash in the hallway for EVS to take out,’” Eisler said, referring to the hallway beneath the first floor and next to the basement room, now sealed off. “So it seemed that EVS was servicing the kitchen in the basement and with this sort of assumption that the basement space would have been used.”

Still, some students were glad to see the college finally take action to seal off the basements.

“It was kind of scary that all the lodges were connected,” said Salman Safir ’16, who lived in lodge three over the summer and described the situation as “very concerning.”

Safir, who also noticed the graffiti, said he wished the college had done more to inspect the lodges prior to his arrival.

“They weren’t proactive about it, which is disappointing,” he said.

Head said she hoped the lessons were more positive.

“What I hope the students take away from this is that, in this case, a student did the right thing,” she said. “They became aware of an area in a building that seemed to have inappropriate graffiti, and it concerned them, so they reported it.”

“The college was able to respond quickly and was able to work on both short term (locking off the rooms for the weekend) and more long term (sealing off the locks) solutions to help control access to this space,” Head said.

But Safir, while glad the school finally responded, was less pleased.

“It would be great if the college would look into the spaces that they’re giving out,” he said. “I think this is a prime example of where the college failed to take the necessary stances and then falls behind.”

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