“A broken couch and a broken window” said Jane Finocharo, a Residential Advisor on the second floor of Mathias. “The lights above the doors, and there was a whole hallway where almost all of those were torn down.”
Finocharo was explaining the thousands of dollars worth of damage inflicted on the second floor of Mathias that has already occurred this year.
On Wednesday, second floor residents received yet another email outlining $140 worth of new damage from a broken toilet and an incidence of someone urinating in a sanitary napkin box.
“Mathias does have a reputation for being ‘rowdy,’” Sara Rotunno, Assistant Director for Residential Life and Housing, said. “We do understand that Mathias tends to have more damage.”
Mathias and the CC Inn are historically the two dorms that have the most damage charges each year, according to Rotunno. This year, however, Mathias is greatly surpassing all other residence halls.
“This year we have had about $4,500 worth of community damage in Mathias,” Rotunno said.
$500 in damages has already been distributed among residents of the second floor for occurrences earlier in the year. Over $3,000 in damage has resulted from recent incidents on the same floor. These events are still under investigation and payment has yet to be determined.
“The amount of damage we have had in the past few weeks is not typical and is very concerning,” Rotunno said.
Residential Life is currently reviewing the most recent damage charges on the second floor in attempts to identify the individual(s) responsible.
“A thorough initial investigation was just completed and has been turned over to a Dean’s panel for additional follow up through the student conduct process,” Taja Werner, the Residential Life Coordinator of Mathias, said.
If the offenders are not determined, the fees will be distributed evenly among the entire second floor of around 90 residents. The total charge for each student is not likely to surpass $40.
“People are pretty concerned about it just because it’s really frustrating when you just happen to live on this hall and you’re getting charged for damages that you have nothing to do with,” Finocharo said.
Though if this investigation returns conclusive, the responsible party will pay the damage charges in full. Currently, there has been no indication of when residents will be informed of the results.
The concern of damage costs, however, is not the only thing on the minds of Mathias residents this year. Lately, Mathias residents and RAs have noticed an overall increase in disorderly conduct throughout the building.
Along with damage fees, the second floor has also experienced problems with overturned trashcans, high noise levels, and open alcohol containers in the hall, according in Finocharo.
As the largest dorm on campus with over 300 residents, Mathias has retained the distinction of being “rowdy” for years, but it has not reached these levels in a while.
“In 2007-2008, we had significant community damage in Mathias. Since that time, this is the most significant damage that has been concentrated to one particular floor,” Rotunno said.
By looking at the plausible causes and potential solutions for this abnormal unruliness, the administration has already begun making preventative plans for the future.
“I strongly believe that the damages that have occurred on the second floor are a result of just a few people who are not respectful to their community,” Werner said.
Werner held mandatory meetings with the second floor communities to discuss the charges and ask for those with information to come forward.
In terms of preventing similar incidents, Werner has instituted additional RA rounds, specifically on the second floor, and has been working with Campus Safety to increase their presence in Mathias.
Most importantly, Werner anticipates that initiating more programs to foster a stronger community will help decrease these types of situations in the future.
“My next step is to work with the second floor RAs to put on some great programs that get residents engaged and to really have some ownership for where they live,” Werner said. “I am really hoping to move past these incidents and help the second floor have a great rest of the year.”