University department takes over inspections

GW will not hire an outside contractor to conduct health and safety inspections of residence halls this year, according to University officials.

This year the University’s Office of Risk Management will conduct the searches, a change from last year when GW hired outside contractor HRH Mitigation Incorporated to inspect residence halls.

Rooms will continue to be randomly inspected for health and safety violations this fall, a move that received much student scrutiny last year. Prior to last year, the inspections were scheduled and announced to students.

“Health and safety room inspections will not be announced to the residents prior to the start of the inspections as was the practice during the fall semester of 2005,” Nancy Haaga, director of Institutional and Auxiliary Services wrote in an e-mail last week.

Haaga said hiring an outside company to inspect rooms last year was not intended to be a long-term change.

The inspections, which were introduced last fall, disgruntled many students who found their property confiscated. Confiscated items may include pets, lofted beds, candles, halogen lamps, hotplates and toaster ovens in non-kitchen areas, space heaters, and microwaves or refrigerators not provided by the University. Prior to last fall, Community Facilitators conducted a form of health and safety inspections for their residents.

If inspectors find alcohol, contraband including pocketknives, drugs or drug paraphernalia, University Police will be contacted.

Haaga said information was provided to both students and parents through e-mails and at fall move-in check-in sites about prohibited items.

“This information informed students and parents about … the health and safety inspection practices that are conducted to help ensure the safety and well-being of all residents,” Haaga said.

Executive Vice President and Treasurer Louis Katz said that in addition to the health and safety inspections, the University continues to annually evaluate all campus buildings and the University’s safety equipment

“We’re going to continue the inspections because we found a lot of important stuff,” he said.

Any of the items confiscated that are in good condition are donated to the Community for Creative Non-Violence, a non-profit homeless shelter with 1,350 beds. The D.C. shelter has been in operation for 30 years.

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