For upperclassmen, the scene is all too familiar. It’s summer-time for carefree days, spending time with friends, hanging out at the beach-and then comes the fall tuition bill.

And to top it all off, included on the bill are the fees for housing damages from the previous year. For some, these charges are no small chunk of change.

According to Gary Stephenson, director of housing operations, the campus-wide bill for damages last year totaled almost $180,000.

This year, Gonzaga Hall is leading the way with housing damages. In the past semester, five sinks have been ripped out of the wall there, said Jon Kugler ’04, a Resident Assistant in the building.

Other damages in Gonzaga this year have involved students smashing the glass casing that fire extinguishers are kept in, as well as tearing the caulking off of toilets and pulling toilet paper holders off the wall, said Kugler.

Meanwhile, Jogues Hall, which has been notorious in the past for its high damage fees, has seen less damage since becoming an all-freshmen dorm last fall. “The damage is right where we had hoped it would be,” said Stephenson.

In comparison, buildings like Kostka, Claver, and Loyola see fewer damage problems. “I think it’s because people have taken more ownership of the building,” said Rob Keder, ’04, an R.A. in Loyola. However, he added, it only takes one person to do damage, so you can’t speak for a whole building.

According to the student handbook, “damages caused to the room, townhouse, or apartment and its furnishings will be charged to residents of that room or unit,” while damages caused to common areas will be charged to either the residents of the entire building or to a specific hall within the building, unless the perpetrator can be identified.

“We understand that students don’t necessarily want to report each other,” said Stephenson. However, he pointed out, most people wouldn’t pay for damages that someone else caused to their own home, so they shouldn’t pay for damages that others cause in residence halls either.

“It’s all about being in a respectful community,” said Stephenson. Students are urged to report anything they know about individuals responsible for common area damages to an R.A. or to the department of housing.

The highest bills occur when an elevator is damaged, according to Stephenson. When this occurs, the whole building is usually charged to have the elevator repaired. In addition, since the repairs typically take place on the weekends, then students are charged to pay the maintenance workers time and a half.

Typical, less costly things that students are charged for at the end of the year when they move out include leaving stuff like putty and tape on walls or items in drawers, leaving rooms dirty, and not cleaning out their microfridges, said Rob Keder, ’04, an R.A. in Loyola Hall.

During the year, said Keder, charges usually come from people ripping down posters from bulletin boards or leaving messes in the hallways that must be cleaned up. Also, said Keder, a floor is usually charged every time a toilet or water fountain needs to be fixed.

In cases where building damage is continuously a problem, said Kugler, the R.A.’s usually talk to the residents to see if they know anything about the responsible individuals. Then, there is usually a mandatory meeting with housing, along with increased rounds by the R.A.’s as well as an increased presence of security.

In extreme cases, according to Stephenson, it might be necessary to hire a security officer to remain in the building constantly. When this happens, the residents of the building are charged to pay for the cost of the security officer.

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