RAs retract threatened bathroom ban

Nick Bratcher

Resident assistants in Pearce-Ford Tower threatened to block off their floor’s bathroom last week after continued disputes over cleanliness.

Seventh floor RA Sequoia Sims, a junior from Woodbridge, Va., said the cleanliness of the restroom has been a problem throughout the semester. Sims threatened to close her floor’s bathroom in a meeting with her residents Sunday.

 “There’s been feces in, around and on the floor of the toilets,” she said. “If you walk in there, a lot of times it looks like someone’s had a water balloon fight — just left their mess. There are things you wouldn’t expect to see in the showers in the showers.”

Nakita Riggsbee, an RA on PFT’s 24th floor, hung a poster in her floor’s bathroom threatening to close the restroom if residents continued to leave food and trash in it.

“Clean up after yourself because If this continues the bathroom will be blocked off and you will have to shower and use the restroom on another floor,” the poster stated.

Brian Kuster, director of Housing and Residence Life, said closing restrooms as punishment is not HRL policy and that he has communicated this message to the RAs in PFT since the incidents.

“There shouldn’t be any reason that we’re closing bathrooms other than if there’s a maintenance issue,” Kuster said. “Obviously, we’re not going to lock bathrooms. That’s a health issue.”

Instead, PFT’s hall directors told RAs Sunday night to talk to residents directly and get residents involved in policing the situation themselves, Kuster said.

“They need to talk with the residents on their floor,” he said.  “I know the residents on the floor don’t like it either. If they see someone doing something, they need to say, ‘Hey, that’s not appropriate.’

“It’s just students taking ownership of their own issues.”

Sims said she only threatened a bathroom ban after receiving support from various residents on her floor.

 “The only way to get my point across — and other floor mates’ points across — is to deny full access to the restroom,” she said Sunday. “I’ve given everyone ample time to try to make the change. We’ve discussed it on multiple occasions.

“At this point, myself and other people on the floor are pretty fed up with it, so this is the next step.”

Freshman Amber Reynolds, of Huntingburg, Ind., is one of the residents on PFT’s seventh floor who fully supported Sims’ decision to close the restroom.

Reynolds said residents would appreciate their floor’s bathroom more if they were forced to walk upstairs to get to one.

“They’re getting to the point that we can barely even use them because they’re just disgusting,” Reynolds said.

But Lexington freshman Clarke James said she saw the anticipated ban as unfair and inconvenient.

“I guess we’re all one floor and we all have to keep it clean,” James said. “But we have no idea who’s doing it. It could be someone from different floors.

“Every floor has their own bathroom. We should be able to use ours.”