More than 30 exit signs have been damaged throughout Few Quad dorms during the spring semester, and now all residents are facing potential charges if the perpetrator cannot be identified.
An email sent to Few residents on April 11 addressed the damaged exit signs and placed an ultimatum that if Housing and Residence Life cannot identify the person responsible for the damages, all students will face additional charges.
“[Damaged exit signs are] considered a policy violation and a safety hazard. These signs are costly to repair and by law we are required to repair them every time they are damaged as they assist in directing traffic in the event of a fire or emergency,” Zari Wilson, residence coordinator of Few Quad, wrote in the email.
Wilson asked students to reach out to her if they knew any information about who was responsible for damaging the exit signs.
“If we are unable to identify who is responsible for the continuous damage to the building, we will charge each resident for the community damages and repairs,” Wilson wrote.
Several Few Quad residents expressed that they were frustrated and shocked by the ultimatum in the email.
“I would prefer not to be charged for these damages. I was not a perpetrator. The vast majority of the students in the building were not perpetrators. I just think it is rather unfair to offload costs like that,” sophomore Rhiannon Eplett said.
Sophomore Miles King echoed Eplett’s frustration.
“Obviously it's not the [Residence Coordinator’s] fault, but the fact that they need to threaten to fine everyone living in Few because of the actions of a few people or one person who may not even be living in Few, was frustrating,” he said.
King questioned why HRL has not taken steps to check records of who enters the building or review security camera footage by the doorways.
“It just seems like rather than taking the time to be preventative or figure out who the culprit is, they're just resorting to fining students because it's easier,” King said.
The Few Quad GroupMe had a lively conversation about the email, and many students brought up concerns from low-income students about the unnecessary burden an additional charge would place on innocent students. “It seems like a way that [low-income students] could really be screwed over,” King said in the GroupMe.
King recalled from the conversation in the GroupMe, “there's no incentive for a rich student to stop breaking the exit signs because they can afford to pay a monetary fine.”
“It's unfair because Few is my last choice for housing. And on top of already being stuck in a building with a lot of other issues, moths in the bathrooms, horrible showers—we already are getting punished by HRL, and this seems just like an added thing,” King said.
Sophomore Delaney Eisen also expressed irritation at the threat, especially given the large budget the quad has for programming.
Few Quad allegedly has a significant surplus in the programming budget that could be allocated to replacing and repairing exit signs instead of that cost falling onto students, Eisen said.
“If we have money in the budget, I think it's a little bit ridiculous to charge students,” Eisen said, but said that she does not believe HRL will follow through with the fine.
“I think it's an empty threat,” she said.
In her April email, Wilson asked that residents treat Few Quad, residents and staff "with dignity and respect by taking care of the building.”
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Kathryn Thomas is a Trinity junior and news editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.