Dorm life at Bowling Green State University is like most other colleges. Students that live in the dorms are known to become very close, often walking to classes together, playing sports, and staying up late for all night study sessions. The students that live in the dorms are in some sense, a society. Every person has a responsibility. Sometimes, if any one person does not complete what they are responsible for, the whole society has to pay.
There can be many problems in a dorm. Students playing music too loud in their rooms after quiet hours, and not respecting others are examples of problems that only affect one or two people. Problems like leaving the hall a mess and leaving trash in the bathroom are problems that affect the whole dorm. By leaving trash in the hallway or in the bathrooms, the student runs the risk of being fined from the custodial services for having to take out the room trash. These fines are extremely harsh. At one point, a floor would be fined $11 for a custodial worker to have to pick up a pizza box. Other problems include plates, silverware, and trays from the dining hall winding up in the hallway, leaving the bathroom a mess, and vomiting. The whole floor is charged with this fine if the actual culprit isnt found.
Dorm policy is to fine the students on the floor that the incident occurred on. These fines can become quite excessive, sometimes exceeding $500 per semester. A student cannot receive his or her final grades for the year unless these fines are paid in whole. This brings up the question, Is it right for all the students on the floor to be fined if only one or a few of the residents went against the rules? Should a few bad apples ruin the whole bunch? I think not.
I feel that someone should address the problem by holding monthly, if not weekly meetings to inform the students that they need to take their trash out instead of placing it in the bathroom. Students need to be told that trays and all other silverware and plates need to be returned to the dining hall. Repetition is the key. If the solution is pounded and pounded into the students heads, then they will begin to obey. A hall director could also keep the students thinking by reminding them how much the floor owes, and what their share is. Constant reminders will deter the students from breaking the rules.
Another, the idea of Terri Capellman, graduate hall director of Compton Hall in the Kreischer Quad at BGSU, is to install cameras to catch the violators in the act. The sight of a camera watching the hallway would be enough to prevent trash being left in the hallway, potential acts of vandalism and theft.
Either of these two potential solutions would work, but have we confronted the real question? Who should pay for all the damage that occurs in the residence halls?
If there is an emergency after the hour of 12 a.m. to 8 a.m. on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night, then an Emergency Maintenance custodian has to come and
fix the problem. This person is of course paid for their overtime. An emergency maintenance custodian can be called in at any time of the night. If an emergency maintenance custodian is needed, then they are paid for 4 hours of regular time, no matter how long they stay there. The starting wage for a full time custodian is $9.93/hour. (Payroll Office Statistic) This means that the custodian was paid at least $39.72 to come in and clean up something that could have taken ten minutes to clean up such as broken glass. The students on the violating floor are charged for this salary. The custodians may say that the wages they are given for coming in at unacceptable hours of the night are legit. They seem extreme to me. I think that the custodians should of course be paid extra for coming in at such late hours, but maybe not as much as is said. A reasonable wage for an emergency maintenance custodian is $30. Keep in mind that the $9.93 is a starting wage, and since we are at a state funded university, those wages get raised in no time. A good pay for an emergency maintenance custodian would be $19.86/hour. This is double what they make during the day and there is no additional cost for time that is not spent on working.
A solution to the whole emergency maintenance deal is to have one of the night guards or an on duty resident advisor clean up the mess. There are always three night guards on duty from the hours of 12 a.m. to 4 a.m. The job of these people is to check in residents coming in after the hour of midnight. Does the front desk really need 3 people doing the work of two?
An on duty RA that has nothing to do could also be a possible solution for the cleanup. On most nights the on duty RA has nothing to do, but they are being paid for doing it. Put them to work.
Trash and trays left in the hallway are not the only things that a custodian might have to clean up. As you may know, drinking is quite common among college students. If a resident were to puke due to the consumption of too much alcohol after the hour of 12 a.m. then once again the emergency maintenance custodian would have to be called once again.
All of these violations do not make hall directors happy. They are the ones that control the budgets of the residence halls. If too much money is being spent in one area of the dorm, then the students have to pay. If there is a complaint of trash or trays in one of the bathrooms, then the students have to pay. Why should all the residents have to pay for something that one person did? According to the BGSU student handbook, the policy is this way because the students are the ones that know who is committing all these violations. When the students see others committing a violation of the rules, they should take action by telling the person politely that the fine for what he or she is doing will be assessed to the whole floor. If the violator is outnumbered, he or she might feel pressured to obey the wishes of his or her peers.
In conclusion, it should be shown that the individual student should not be fined for something that one of their peers did. I have given a few solutions of how to cut costs for the residence halls so the students do not have to be fined as much. I understand that someone has to pay for the damage that is made but I also think that it should be the person or persons that commit the crime. I am a college student and my floor has already accumulated well over $2000 dollars so far this school year. I feel that it is not fair that I have to pay for something that I didnt do. Pop cans, Styrofoam cups and trays make the dorm look like a junkyard. The ultimate thing that needs to happen is the students need to take responsibility for their own actions.