University News

Inspections find culprits in power cords, wall hangings

Contributing Writer
Monday, November 19, 2012

Seventy dormitory rooms were found in violation of residential policies during this semester’s health and safety inspection from Oct. 23 to 25. The most common of these violations was the presence of prohibited power strips, said Richard Bova, senior associate dean of residential and dining services. 

Extension cords that do not meet standards and wall hangings that cover more than 50 percent of the walls are the most common violations, he said.

Bova said he wants students to realize that rule infractions affect the safety of those around them.

“Fire is a devastating tragedy in a residential hall. We seek to keep as many students as safe as we possibly can,” he said. “(All schools) look for candles, overloaded extension cords, malfunctioning smoke detectors, anything that would cause a fire or jeopardize students’ living.”

Most students are conscious about the rules of each residential hall, Bova said. “Generally, first-years are really cognizant (of) adhering to the rules. While upperclassmen are safe, they may push the boundaries of the rules,” Bova said.

The Office of Residential Life keeps records on file of students who violate these rules, and these students have their rooms inspected on a more frequent basis. Students also face fines when found in violation, including a $100 fee for each candle ResLife finds in a room. 

“The candle one can get pretty expensive,” said Audrey Davis ’14. While the inspections are necessary, she said she thinks the fines are unfair. Joshua Williams ’16, on the other hand, said he is glad these fines exist because it gives students an incentive to respect University property.

The inspections can be invasive, said Sriya Muralidharan ’15, though ResLife releases the dates of inspections to students prior to conducting them. But Muralidharan said she feels more comfortable knowing everyone’s rooms are safe, adding that “the rule that they can’t look under anything covered prevents me from feeling like my privacy was violated.”

Christina Lam ’13 said she has never been positively or negatively affected by room inspections. “I do recall being present for an inspection and it was quite cursory – they spent less than a minute walking through my suite in Grad Center,” she said.

ResLife has made interesting finds during the course of room inspections, Bova said. 

“Occasionally we’ll open the doors and a kitty will pop out,” he said. Bova said they have also found snakes, bunny rabbits, a little alligator and even a motorcycle in the building.