Dorm-estic disputes

By Cara Donfrio

Willard Draper believes strongly in the power of meeting new people.

“The people that you meet in college often get to be … your lifelong friends,” said Draper, who is the director of residence life at Student Housing Dining Services. He believes that this is true of “the vast majority” of students.

Even so, he acknowledged the fact that sometimes a situation requires a student to move out of his or her room. The biggest reason for these move-outs, he said, was a lack of respect. He explained that a roommate who is respectful will ask his roommate for permission before doing something that might be potentially annoying.

If this basic respect doesn’t exist, there is likely to be a problem. In addition, it is also problematic if a student is doing something annoying and his roommate doesn’t say anything about it.

“Being assertive is an excellent thing,” Draper said. “Before you can solve a problem, you have to know you have one!”

Michael Stang, SHDS manager of residential administration, elaborated about why these problems arise.

“Lifestyle issues are probably the greatest source of conflict,” he said.

Stang said students who had vastly different academic goals would be among those with conflicts.

Draper stressed that, when roommates are having problems, the first thing they should do is try to talk things out. Their hall director can schedule them for peer mediation, which is part of the judicial office. If roommates have exhausted their attempts to work out their differences, a room change may be in order.

Only a small percentage of students actually reach this point and it is believed that SHDS attempts to place students in a comfortable environment. Stang said that while there isn’t a method in place to put compatible roommates together, students are placed in lifestyle communities that they indicate will be comfortable for them.

Stang stressed that, with the change in semesters right around the corner, there will be many empty spaces for students to move into.

“This is the time for students to be making changes for the spring semester,” he said.