The Thurston trash toss

The effects of gravity are often studied in GW physics labs, but they are also tested most nights at Thurston Hall by some less-than-sober experimenters.

The disposal of objects such as alcohol bottles and even vacuum cleaners from Thurston’s windows into a courtyard has been a persistent problem for years, but the frequency of disposal reached a new level this semester, University officials and residents said.

“I’ve seen electric razors, empty water bottles, fruit, everything . but mostly glass bottles,” Thurston house proctor Jacqueline Abdalla said.

Numerous residents have contacted the University Police Department regarding these incidents and both Student Judicial Services and GW Housing Programs are aware of the situation and working to rectify it, University officials said.

To fight the problem, the Residential Advisory Council posted information about noise and safety restrictions on residents’ doors and went door-to-door visiting Thurston’s courtyard-side rooms to inform residents about the importance of respecting the community and reporting concerns to UPD, said Jeff Llewellyn, assistant director of GW Housing Programs.

“In recent weeks, there have been more posters placed on the floors of the building as well as having intentional conversations about how to report information quickly to UPD when a resident has a complaint or concern about the noise or trash in the courtyard,” Llewellyn said.

Tara Pereira, director of SJS, said the problem most likely stems from other forms of illicit behavior in the freshman residence hall.

“I think a lot of it is probably alcohol-related behavior, because when else it is fun to throw things out of a window?” Pereira said.

SJS has met with several perpetrators, Pereira said. The repercussions for offenders range from a warning letter to disciplinary probation, she said.

“When your pizza box is thrown out the window and it says your room number or mail that you didn’t rip up, we can see whose it is and we’re following up on them right now,” Pereira said.

Not only do residents find the bottle and garbage-chucking annoying, they also said the act potentially dangerous.

“My friend was sitting in my room the other day and we heard something hit the window and an apple came in, and then three water bottles,” Abdalla said.

At one point the garbage and items littering the courtyard became so bad that the floor of the courtyard was no longer visible, which forced the housekeeping staff to climb through first floor windows to clean it up.

“I’m not really sure why people do it, maybe just amusement,” said freshman Caitlin O’Neil. “I guess it was funny the first couple of times, but now it’s mainly annoying,”

First-floor residents said there are other problems besides trash coming in through their windows. Freshman Rachel Hodin said she keeps her windows shut due to the rats the courtyard garbage attracts. One time a rat entered her room through the open window.

“I called UPD a bunch of times but nothing ever happened,” Hodin said. “I had a bottle fly into my bathroom window, and that’s when I made my dad call, but it’s seemed to have gotten better lately.”

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