Housing official warns of uptick in violations in four residence halls

Media Credit: Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor

In an email sent to residents of 1959 E Street, South Hall, The Dakota and Amsterdam Hall just four days after classes began this month, a housing area coordinator warned of an uptick in housing violations.

More students are violating housing agreements this semester in at least four on-campus residence halls.

In an email sent to residents of 1959 E Street, South Hall, The Dakota and Amsterdam Hall just four days after classes began this month, a housing area coordinator warned of an uptick in housing violations, like smoking, having pets and drinking alcohol in public areas. A housing official said the email was related to a “few concerns” reported to the University early this semester from residents of the buildings.

Stewart Robinette, the assistant dean of residential engagement, said area coordinators regularly email residents to promote events or respond to residents’ concerns.

“Since we welcome both new and returning students to GW’s residence halls each semester, an email from the area coordinator helps to support the orientation of new students and re-acclimation of returning residents to shared expectations of community living standards,” he said in an email.

The email referred to a “few concerns” heard from residents of these buildings early in the semester, including a visiting family member’s off-leash pet, leaving alcohol in public areas and smoking too close to building entrances, he added.

He declined to say how many violations typically occur in these halls each academic year, how large the increase in violations was, if there were any other halls where there was a similar increase in violations and why there has been an increase in offenses in these residence halls.

In interviews with more than 20 students who live in these four residence halls, 15 attested to witnessing violations like leaving beer cans in elevators and smoking inside and around the halls.

Sophomore Delon Etzel, a resident of Amsterdam Hall, said he witnessed a loose puppy in the building this month that he did not believe was a registered service animal.

“I know one morning I came out of the elevator and it was sort of just wandering around in the elevator lobby area and they had to go find the owners and everything,” he said.

Etzel said that while he doesn’t think there has been an increase overall in housing violations, officials may be more aware of the infractions because if there had been a rise in student complaints so early in the semester.

Sophomore Dennis Constanza said he has also seen an increase in the number of dogs in Amsterdam this semester. The University bans students from keeping pets in residence halls that aren’t service animals, but last year began allowing faculty and staff to keep dogs in their residence hall rooms.

“Probably last semester I saw two or three here, but in the last month I’ve definitely seen like twice that amount just in the last week really,” he said.

Although some students were surprised by the email so early into the semester, senior Kate O’Brien, who lives in South Hall, was “pleased” by the message because she constantly smells cigarette and marijuana smoke in the building.

“I’ve actually been hounding our [resident adviser] to say something about it because it got to the point where it was multiple times a day and it was just filling our bathroom,” she said. “It was getting frustrating.”

Junior Christina Harris, who lives in Amsterdam Hall, said she sees people smoking near the residence hall “all the time.” She said residents also regularly violate the University’s “quiet hours” from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 2 a.m. to 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Harris added it’s unlikely that students will stop breaking the rules because none of the residents care and officials haven’t yet visited the halls to discipline students.

“I think unless they actually come to the building and they walk through the halls and they’re like ‘hey, stop,’ then nothing’s going to happen,” she said.

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