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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

A look at the vandalism behind the Ledges guest ban

A timeline of the events that preceded the visitor ban

In an attempt to mitigate ongoing vandalism in The Ledges residence hall, the Quinnipiac University Office of Residential Life and Housing on Oct. 19 revoked the first-year dorm building’s guest privileges.

“Only individuals who are presently residing in The Ledges will be granted access to the building,” the email to the building’s some 400 residents said. “No other persons are permitted in the hall, including non-Quinnipiac guests and QU students from other residence halls.”

The vandalism was not a new phenomenon, though, and this email was far from the first warning Quinnipiac officials had issued to residents.

Here’s what transpired in the weeks leading up to — and following — the Oct. 19 notice:

AUG. 28

Thomas Rouse, a veteran university administrator with over a decade of experience in residential life, took over as Quinnipiac’s newly appointed director of residential life at the end of August, mere days after residents moved into The Ledges.

But in the five or so days between first-year move-in and Rouse’s first day as director, vandalism had already become a problem in the residence hall, particularly in the building’s communal bathrooms.

“Essentially, since Aug. 28 up until now, we’ve been dealing with vandalism,” Rouse said on Oct. 23, nearly two months after the vandalism first began.

In compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act, the Department of Public Safety records all on-campus crimes, including vandalism, in a daily crime log. One-third of the 12 on-campus incidents of vandalism reported between Sept. 9 and Oct. 22 occurred in The Ledges.

The incidents of vandalism, Rouse said, ranged in scope and severity from broken ceiling tiles and destroyed door decorations to feces on the floor and urine in the waste bins.

“Things that include peeing in places that are not designated for pee, defecating in places that are outside of the toilet,” Rouse recalled. “The last picture that I received there was a can of some type of food in the toilet itself, and then outside, on the floor, there was what is assumed to be poop.”

A tomato-based sauce splattered in a communal bathroom shower stall in The Ledges (Photo courtesy of Thomas Rouse).

SEPT. 18

Although Rouse and other residential life officials began “communicating extensively with the residents about respecting the community” in late August, the vandalism continued.

On Sept. 18, three weeks after the vandalism first began, officials held mandatory 20-minute meetings on each of the building’s four floors to “really address this concern,” Rouse said.

“We got called out by floor to pretty much get a talk by a residence hall director,” said Danielle Burney, a first-year political science major who lives in The Ledges. “Like, ‘Hey, this is happening. Stop it.’”

Rouse said the floor meetings failed to mitigate the vandalism, though.

“That didn’t necessarily help much,” Rouse said of the meetings. “The vandalism of the spaces continued.”

Shampoo squirted on the floor of a communal bathroom in The Ledges (Photo courtesy of Thomas Rouse).

OCT. 6

When the floor meetings proved ineffective, Rouse and the assistant director of residential life, Mallory Gatison-Marsh, notified residents via email that the Office of Residential Life was “reviewing the implementation of communal billing per floor to cover the costs of repairs and additional cleaning services.”

“The disrespectful actions exhibited by a portion of our community not only tarnish the atmosphere of the residence hall, but also strain the resources meant to ensure a comfortable living experience for all,” Rouse and Gatison-Marsh wrote in the Oct. 6 email. “The actions of a few are affecting the many, and this cannot continue.”

Burney said the prospect of widespread fines irritated uninvolved residents.

“If there was damage, for example, on the second floor, everyone would be fined even though there’s only one person that did it,” Burney said. “That’s punishing the many for the crimes of the few.”

Rouse and Gatison-Marsh also warned residents in the email that continued vandalism would result in even harsher punishments.

“We are considering suspending resident guest privileges to ensure the safety and cleanliness of our communal areas,” the two wrote. “Although stringent, these measures are intended to preserve the integrity and comfort of our living environment.”

OCT. 11

Dani Mascia, The Ledges’ residence hall director, followed up with residents on Oct. 11 — less than a week after Rouse and Gatison-Marsh announced the impending implementation of communal fines — to reiterate officials’ frustration with ongoing vandalism and disrespect in the dorm building.

Mascia addressed “continuous behavioral concerns that need to end immediately,” including throwing water on doors, screaming in the hallways, ripping down door decorations and knocking on doors at inappropriate times.

“Please respect that this is someone else’s home, and this behavior is a violation of civility and respect,” Mascia wrote.

A vandalized sign posted in The Ledges about the visitor ban (Photo courtesy of Thomas Rouse).

OCT. 19

By mid-October, residents had struck out.

After repeated verbal and written warnings had failed to quell the vandalism, the Office of Residential Life notified residents — and their guardians — that The Ledges would be inaccessible to visitors through at least Nov. 2.

“These actions not only violate the established norms of the community but also foster an antagonistic atmosphere for other residents,” the email said. “Implementing this protocol is essential for safeguarding the welfare and convenience of our residents.”

Rouse said residential life officials implemented the no-guest policy to not only “address the concerns but also control the flow of people in the building.”

“It’s difficult right now,” Rouse said. “We don’t know who’s doing it.”

Officials also cautioned that “any individual found to have violated the guest restriction in The Ledges will be reported to the conduct system.”

However, less than a week after officials revoked residents’ guest privileges, Rouse said students had already begun violating the ban.

“So, obviously not improving as much as we would like to, but we’re actively working to find solutions to make this better,” he said.

The guest ban, Burney reiterated, was particularly frustrating for the residents who took no part in the vandalism.

“I’m getting punished for something that is done on a different floor, by a different group of people,” she said. “And it’s kind of like, why are we in prison?”

And Rouse agreed.

“We really hope that this is resolved because it’s not fair to the building,” he said. “It’s not fair to the rest of the residents who want to have a clean living environment that this is happening.”

Explicit graffiti on a third-floor bulletin board in The Ledges (Photo courtesy of Thomas Rouse).

OCT. 24

But as of late October, incidents of vandalism have continued to plague The Ledges.

Rouse emailed residents yet again on Oct. 24 with a laundry list of new reports: spit on the walls, feces on the bathroom floors, property damage and widespread disrespect.

“I don’t even know how you’re unsupervised for that long of a period of time,” Burney said. “Like, you just do that and move on with it? I don’t get it. I’ll never get it.”

The Oct. 24 email — the fourth in the series of written communications with residents — also announced the establishment of an anonymous tip line to “identify who is responsible and put an end to this offensive behavior.”

“Someone must have seen something,” Rouse said. “And we want to get that information, but we understand that students may feel a little bit nervous putting themselves out there.”

Students can text information, photos and videos to the anonymous tip line at (203) 582-6201.

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Cat Murphy
Cat Murphy, News Editor
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Aidan Sheedy, Photography Editor

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