College Looks Into Ross Vandalism

By Nora O'Leary

Over the past several weeks, residents of Ross dormitories have been encountering vandalism to their building in multiple locations. In an email sent to all of Ross Commons in January, CRA Mila King-Musza highlighted some of the damages.

The email read, “This past weekend, walls were damaged in Hadley and Kelly, property was stolen in Hadley, and one window pane on the door to the Ross Commons office was shattered.” 

King-Musza also said that she has seen broken vending machines, damage to community spaces and a general mess created in hallways 

Ross resident Jacob Dana ’17 added more to the list. “I’ve seen broken lights, dents in walls, and posters being torn down in hallways,” he said. 

When damage is done to a residence hall such as Ross, the first step in fixing the problem is identifying who exactly is responsible, in order to determine who has to pay for the cost of repairs. In addition to paying for the damage, the person responsible is usually also charged an extra fine for vandalizing school property. 

However, it is not always possible to identify the responsible party in cases of vandalism, especially when buildings are open to non-residents. 

According to King-Musza, many of the damages done in Ross are likely a result of non-residents who are in the building for a number of different reasons.

Because of Ross’s size and all of its components, including the dining hall, it is more likely to receive traffic from non-residents than any of the other residence halls. King-Musza believes that this may account for the frequency of vandalism in Ross over other buildings on campus.

“I think Ross is in a very unique position because all our residential spaces are connected. Especially during this cold weather, people take advantage of this: they’ll use whatever entrance is closest and walk through other buildings to get to where they’re going,” said King-Musza. 

She continued, “When you don’t have any connection to a space, it can be easier to forget that your actions have consequences and there are people on the receiving end of your actions.”

Much of the vandalism has occurred on weekend nights. However, what may seem harmless on a Saturday night has real effects on the residents.  “I get that kids get drunk and want to screw around but it’s not fun to deal with in the morning,” Dana said.

King-Musza wrote in her email that these acts of vandalism make those who live in Ross halls feel violated. 

“Late on a Saturday night, taking a silly decoration from an open suite may seem like a harmless joke or a funny story to round out your night … Someone’s living space now feels a little less safe; someone now feels less comfortable in their home,” she wrote in the email.

King-Musza hopes that the vandalism will come to an end, but understands that the problem is bigger than just Ross. 

“This is definitely a difficult situation and the conversation about what to do is on-going and constantly evolving,” she said.

At the end of her email she asked residents to please be respectful of their surroundings. The email read, “Without your help, this vandalism may not stop. Let’s work together to make our home a better place to live.”

Dorm damage has been an ongoing concern among admistrators and residential life coordinators. It was what drove the closure of Prescott House, colloquially referred to as ADP, and since has been a part of dialogue on campus. 

Community Council has discussed possible solutions for limiting dorm damage and at one time was considering the implemention of camera systems that would hold students more accountable for their actions in dorms and in less public areas. 

Former Dean of the College Shirley Collado often discussed her concern for this topic.

“Dorm damage, tree damages and thefts have gone on. There is now a question about whether or not cameras in any major location on campus would be something we should think about,”  Collado said in a Community Council meeting last year. 

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College Looks Into Ross Vandalism