Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Residential Living Conducts Inspections

The Office of Residential Living conducted health and safety inspections in all on-campus residences last week, and will continue through this Friday. At least two staff members can enter dorm rooms any time between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. to look for prohibited items and safety concerns in plain sight.

Although this was common practice in the past, no health and safety inspections were performed last year.

According to Associate Director of Residential Services Matthew Hollingshead, mid-semester inspections failed to happen last year because the Office of Residential Living was, at that time, newly merged with Housing Operations and Residents’ Life.

As both departments used to conduct the impromptu visits together, the recent restructuring disrupted last year’s scheduled inspections.

“The Office of Residential Living just started its second year of existence. So we were consolidating a lot of our processes and procedures last year,” Hollingshead said. “The inspection wasn’t reimagined under the new department.”

Hollingshead added that the inspections have been a common occurrence in past years to keep the campus safe.

“We hope these policies will be followed all the time. The announcement is just out of precaution,” he said. “This is something that is done naturally. It’s not new to Georgetown. It’s not a new trend in higher education in general. It’s something that we need to ensure the safety for our students.”

Madeline Sposato (SFS ’17) of Reynolds Hall said she was frustrated about the inconsistency of these inspections.

“As far as the purpose is looking for prohibited items, safety and facilities concerns, I can understand why they would choose to do the safety inspection,” Sposato said. “But the fact that they didn’t do one last year and they decided to do one this year doesn’t seem very consistent to me. I’m more bothered by the inconsistency than I am by the inspection itself.”

Prohibited items include, but are not limited to, extension cords, space heaters, pets, explosives, electric cooking appliances and candles. Upon completion of the inspection, staff members will leave a checklist and follow up with the students found violating residential policies.

Hollingshead explained the right of staff members to enter residential spaces.

“Any staff members, according to the housing agreement, are allowed to enter any residential space,” Hollingshead said. “We obviously have the discretion to do that. We do it when we have a reason to do it: health and safety is one of the reasons, and also in cases of emergency.”

Although Hollingshead admitted that the staff members would still abide by the regular policy, including reporting alcohol found in freshman dorms, he emphasized that this was not the purpose of the inspection.

“We are not here to cause problems. We are not here to get people in trouble. Our purpose is safety,” he said.

Mark Gori (MSB ’18), a resident of Darnall Hall, said that he feels that this inspection is an unnecessary invasion of privacy, and doubts the inspection has a safety-only focus.

“I know it’s allowed. I don’t prefer it. I’d rather not have people in my room and open my stuff,” Gori said. “At first they are listing things like extension cords, all the normal prohibited things, but they are probably looking for basically everything that they can confiscate.”

Hollingshead noted that the health and safety inspection will be a regular practice in the future, occurring once each semester.

“It is expected for people living in dorms,” Zhuoyun Liu (MSB ’18) of Village C West noted. “From my experience, I’m not that surprised. I think it’s good and it’s made pretty clear that this is for the general safety of the entire building,”

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