Rouzer hall continues to be ‘free-for-all’

By Cori Simpson, Features Co-Editor

Rouzer residents are notoriously untamed. Everyone has heard the rumors; many people have seen the damage and the statistics confirm the fact: Rouzer is a mess and a moneypit – for students and the administration.

In the 2006-2007 school year, the total cost of damages in Rouzer was $21,718, compared to the freshman women’s dorm Whiteford, whose total cost of damages was $595.50, according to Residence Life.

What kind of damage is being done?

Students spray fire extinguishers, fill water balloons with GLAR hot sauce and launch them from various floors, and knock out ceiling tiles so often the administration rarely puts them back in, according to interviews with several residents.

This year, students are also launching what they call “MRE bombs,” which are a combination of heating powder that is packaged in a Meal Ready to Eat, put it in a Gatorade bottle, and then shaken so that it explodes what it is thrown.

But it doesn’t stop here.

“Every Saturday morning, the same kid thinks it’s hilarious to crap on the shower drain,” explained Tim Winneke. “This is particularly disgusting because there are only four shower stalls per floor.”

However, for some students, this behavior is not so irksome.

“I was excited to live in Rouzer after I heard that there was a slip-and-slide on one of the floors,” said KJ Mazurek, who added that he had heard many other entertaining stories from upperclassmen.

But maybe reality just hasn’t set in yet. KJ added, “Right now it’s hysterical, but when I see the numbers, I’ll care.”

Liz Towle, Associate Dean of Students, and some students agree that the primary cause of damages is underage alcohol use. “When students gather and drink too much, decision making skills are impaired and students do things they wouldn’t do if sober,” Towle said.

“If at all possible,” Towle advised, “stop it before it happens. If you see a friend doing something they shouldn’t, stop them. Also, encourage individuals to come forward so others don’t have to pay.”

In addition to advice, Towle and other administrators have implemented and talked about a host of other strategies to address the destruction of Rouzer, including fines, increased surveillance, curfews, and tightened access by guests after certain hours.

Residents are told their first night in the dorm that damages will be billed to everyone, regardless of their involvement, unless the perpetrators turn themselves in (or get turned in) and accept full financial responsibility.

To some residents, like Josh Aaron, the fact that the innocent have to pay for other’s behavior doesn’t seem right. “It’s really not fair,” he said.

Some, who are paying their own tuition, like freshman Zac Seitz, are also bothered by the vandalism. In his opinion, “Playing pranks is one thing, but when it causes damages, it’s another.”

Residents contend that additional and continual campus safety or RA presence would help matters, as well as fewer students and more bathroom and shower facilities in the dorm.

“If Rouzer had more drywall, 10 more showers, more toilets and more toilet paper, the residents might calm down,” said Mazurek. “It’s [the problem is] that the dorm is all freshmen who feel like they are finally free and that freedom comes with a price.”