An open letter to HRL Dean LoBiondo about mistreatment of students

letter to the editor

Dear Dean LoBiondo,

I am distressed that Few Quad residents are being fined by Housing and Residence Life. But, after living in Few for three years, I’m not surprised. Though tenants are meagerly protected in North Carolina, doling out collective fines is illegal, besides being unethical and unfair.

This incident comes in a long line of punitive tactics deployed by HRL. When I was a senior, we had a tiff when they insisted on conducting unlawful searches of dorm rooms. That year, HRL also threatened to bar us from the kitchens because a few students (accidentally) set off the fire alarm. I also had a friend ejected from her room because HRL mixed up move-out dates; they kindly let her stand in the hallway instead of in the sweltering heat wave outside.

Students deserve to be treated as adults and with respect. While we may quibble about whether Duke is a “business,” housing certainly is. Paying at least $1,000/mo, students (are forced to) rent a room on campus. HRL is therefore providing landlord services and should maintain professional standards. I’m currently attending graduate school where the HRL equivalent treats its students with at least a minimal level of decency, so I know it’s possible.

I understand that managing a large housing system is not easy. Students need to treat HRL staff and facilities with respect; it is unacceptable for students to destroy campus property.

Particularly disruptive students should be held accountable, but through a reasonable disciplinary process and not through collective punishment.

HRL must do better. Don’t treat students with such contempt. Just to be clear: I’m squarely blaming the leadership—not the hard-working HRL staff—for this pattern of missteps. I would be happy to have a conversation to provide more details and discuss potential solutions.


Dev Dabke T’18


Share and discuss “An open letter to HRL Dean LoBiondo about mistreatment of students” on social media.