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Roommate issues have increased

Originally published November 12, 2010

A decrease in available dorm space, text messaging and even Facebook may be to blame for recent increased roommate quarrels.

“We do feel like there have been increased roommate issues lately,” said Director of Residential Living Ryan Bair. “I don’t know for sure why, but I do think it has something to do with roommates’ conversations happening more through the Internet and text messaging. Then students don’t talk face-to-face, or they vent improperly.”

Bair said one way he has tried to counter the lack of communication is through roommate contracts.

“Making the roommate contracts mandatory is a recent thing, and it has been revised,” he said. “We looked at what other schools have been doing and expanded other ways to deal with these problems.”

Though most problems are resolved with a discussion between students and their resident advisor, there have been a few incidences of roommate disagreements reported to police in the past weeks, each stemming from miscommunication.

“From my experience at other schools, we do, for example, have really low theft incidences,” he said. “But when things like that do happen between roommates, we refer them to fill out a report. That’s something I have really been encouraging.”

Bradley police Lt. Troy Eeten and Sgt. Rick Hutchinson said they intervene in very few roommate problems.

“When it goes past what housing can do, we step in,” Hutchinson said. “Sometimes it is handled before we ever get involved. We rely a lot on housing as the first course of action.”

Hutchinson said he saw many boyfriend and girlfriend disputes in the past, but those have decreased over time.

“I don’t see those much anymore,” he said. “Now I take a lot of reports dealing with roommate theft.”

Eeten said the amount of domestic abuse calls he receives throughout the year are very few.

“Housing is pretty responsive in mediating and potentially helping keep them together,” he said. “We handle four, maybe five of those calls during the year.”

Junior resident advisor for Williams Hall Alex Kareotes said her experiences with roommate disagreements declined greatly when she moved to an upperclassmen dorm.

“Most people have come in choosing their own roommate,” she said. “But I definitely saw it in [University Hall]. And with no space for extra housing, there’s really nothing we can do about it. That puts a lot of pressure on the staff.”

Kareotes said Facebook seems to have both help and hurt the roommate selection for incoming freshmen.

“I’ve noticed that, as people meet each other online, finding a roommate either works out great or terrible,” she said. “That did affect all the major situations on my floor last year, but we were able to make some switches by second semester.”

Junior resident advisor Kyle Blais, who also worked in U-hall last year, said the lack of space may be a beneficial in resolving roommate disagreements.

“Because there isn’t much space, the early-on conflicts can’t just be walked out on. You have to get it together and make it work,” he said. “In the situations I’ve had this year, they didn’t have the option to move, so they didn’t get new rooms. It’s almost been a better situation than when there was more room.”

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