Brandon McMahan, Staff Writer
The Office of Student Life has decided to rescind the controversial trash-fine policy for the New Hall. The policy, announced the Monday after Groundhog weekend and scheduled to go into effect Monday, would have imposed a $25 fine for all residents of any floor with over-flowing trash cans.
“Not based on feedback, but upon further reflection of my own, I realized that the policy was a mistake,” commented Dr. John Plotts, Vice President of Enrollment and Student Affairs, Monday afternoon. “We should probably not fine across the board. We are not going to force people.”
When asked about his alternatives to promote cleanliness, Dr. Plotts put the ball in the students’ court.
“The principle at play is community responsibility. I’m happy to ask the residents to have a solution to manage a clean living environment. This is a good exercise for the students to learn to govern themselves through dorm meetings and positive peer pressure,” Plotts said.
Though not the stated basis for Student Life’s decision, student dissatisfaction with the policy was running high in the New Hall last week.
The email announcement, which cited the “large amount of trash that [is] … being consistently piled around the trash-cans and left in the back stairwells of the New Hall,” caught the residents by surprise.
“There was no announcement of a trash problem or warning before we were informed about the new $25 fine for overflowing trash cans,” sophomore and first-floor resident Cosette Kulda said. “I don’t even remember being told the New Hall when we were being oriented – perhaps it was because it was the beginning of a new semester, but not knowing where to put our trash probably was what started the issue.”
“There are plenty of better ways to enforce the trash rule than make an entire floor pay $25 per person. It really seems unnecessary,” noted sophomore and fourth-floor resident Curtis Walker.
Junior, and first-floor resident assistant Cierra Houchins offered an administrative insight into the issue.
“Reminders for responsible trash disposal have been placed on all floor bulletin boards in the past weeks,” Houchins said. “Overflowing trash-cans have continued to be an issue on upper floors, prompting Student Life to employ past successful measures to mediate garbage disposal while we currently find a new solution to the trash problem.”
The amount of the original policy fine definitely caught the attention of many students, prompting several students – including each one interviewed for this article – to offer ideas on how to solve the trash disposal dilemma effectively.
With the original fine no longer in effect, Dr. Plotts encourages New Hall residents to direct suggestions to their RAs. Plotts agreed that an administrative policy founded on constructive resident feedback will certainly result in the most advantageous policy for all.
Please direct any suggestions for how the trash problem can be handled to your respective RAs.
Christina Davis & Will Chavey contributed to the reporting and writing of this article.