My name is in Residence Life’s burn book.

Since the end of August, I have had to get on the phone with someone from Residence Life to speak to them about violating my privacy…twice. 

Before move-in, everyone who was going to be in my Kostka suite either dropped out, or took a medical single in a different building. Moving into an empty suite, when your feelings regarding the school are already questionable and all of your friends have dropped out, sparks a feeling that I would not wish on anyone. 

Residence Life didn’t help the transition process either. I contacted my residence assistant (RA) after I realized that I was the only one left and I never got a response. I didn’t know if I would be allowed to live in an empty suite, or if I would move in just to be told that I would have a new housing assignment. 

I moved into the empty suite and was told that I’d be contacted if someone were to move in;  ideally, I would get to choose who would live with me unless it was an emergency. 

I hadn’t heard anything until October, when I suddenly heard banging coming from the empty suite next to mine. It’s very scary to hear noises when you’re living alone, at least when you think that you’re living alone.

When the banging continued, I walked to the other room and saw that my new suitmate had moved in. Needless to say, I didn’t have words at that moment and was completely confused. 

Who was this? How long had she been living there? Why didn’t anyone contact me? I have no distaste for my suitemate; she and I live very well together. My issue lies with the fact that I was never contacted about her arrival.

It took me several days to get in contact with my area coordinator (AC). I called once and was told that I would receive a call from Senior Associate Director of Housing Operations Charles Sousa after his lunch break, but that phone call never came. The Rearview also gave Sousa the opportunity to comment but he did not respond. 

When my AC finally called, she didn’t fully explain what had happened. She said that it was her fault, admitting to a mistake, and that they couldn’t do anything about it—but she nevertheless accepted that she was at fault, admitting that Residence Life was supposed to contact me beforehand.

Though my AC considered the mishap a mistake, the student handbook says otherwise. The policy in the student handbook is as follows: “The University reserves the right to assign students to vacant spaces without prior notification. The University reserves the right to reassign students in order to consolidate vacant spaces.” 

This message completely contradicts what I was told by my AC, which begs the question: what is the policy here and do the people in charge even know what it is?

Sophomore Katharine Gutowski lived solo in a double room for a large portion of last semester. 

“Fairfield’s policy isn’t okay. Anyone should be notified if someone else is moving into their room,” she said.

Residence Life needs to be more careful about “mistakes” like that. Moving a stranger into someone’s space without warning is not a minor mistake like a forgotten room check might be—it’s a serious cause for concern. 

So much could have gone wrong. I could have never heard that banging, nor have thought to explore it, and unsuspectingly crossed paths with my new roommate in our bathroom! I can only imagine how shocking that would be. Residence Life needs to think more about students’ well-being and the difficulties that can arise from “mistakes” like this.

“I think it’s unfair that you don’t have to be notified if you’re getting a new roommate,” said Caroline Hart ‘26. 

“How are you supposed to know if you can live with someone if you were never given the chance to know each other’s living styles?”

Unfortunately, that wasn’t all that happened. After the surprise, everything was fine until I came back from winter break. I had put a sheet over the empty bed in my room along with two pillows and some bags under the empty bed. 

I did just enough to ensure that the other side of my room didn’t look like a hospital bed. 

I had been told that you have to be prepared to remove stuff on the other side of the room in case someone else moves in, but I assumed that a sheet could do no harm. Besides, my suitemate did the same thing, and we both passed our room checks after Thanksgiving break.

When I returned from Christmas break, however, my room was practically trashed. The sheet and pillows that were on the other side of the room were carelessly thrown onto the other side of the room, along with the bags that were under the bed. 

It didn’t stop there. I had pushed the free dresser into the closet and left a few things on top of it, including my jewelry box and blender. Although those items were on my side, they were thrown onto my desk as well, along with vinyls and various other items.

Pictured above are items that were tampered with by Residence Life in Liz Morin’s room in Kostka Hall, according to Morin. Several rings were missing from the jewelry box (pictured on the left) and scattered on the floor, according to Morin. She also said that her vinyls, medicine box and various cleaning supplies were moved from her closet and walls to her bed (pictured in the center image and on the right).

“It’s not okay for anyone to go in and touch someone else’s stuff regardless of what the situation is,” said Gutkoski ‘26. 

“If you need to make room for someone, tell the person who is living there, give them a timeframe or a deadline and then go from there. The first move should not be ‘go in and throw stuff around.’ Nor should it be ‘move someone in without giving the other people notice,’” she continued.

I would have been less annoyed had my personal belongings not been treated so shabbily. How hard would it have been to fold the sheet? Or to not toss my jewelry box and force me to search around my rug for a missing ring? The absolute contempt for residents’ belongings is unacceptable, and I’m certain that I’m not the only one who has experienced this kind of treatment. 

I spoke to a few students about their thoughts on the policy. One student, who chose to remain anonymous, said, “It’s probably protocol in case someone had to move in as soon as possible, but they should’ve notified you and done it in a cleaner manner.”

When I called Residence Life about it, they brushed it off as having to move everything that was on the other side of the room. However, a large portion of my belongings that were touched were not on the other side of the room. 

I understand that they have to clean up the other side of the room, but what authorization is there to touch my personal belongings if they did not have reason to? There is no reason for me to believe that someone is moving into my room any time soon, so there was no pressing emergency to prepare the other side of the room for a hypothetical roommate who doesn’t exist.

Also, why does Residence Life policy allow others to move students’ belongings at all? If they claim to contact you before someone moves in, according to my RA, why could the student themself  not take the belongings off of the other side of the room? A sheet could easily be removed with 24 hours’ notice— though that policy itself is unclear. 

When I left for Thanksgiving with my belongings on the other side, everything was fine, but when I returned from break, suddenly it wasn’t? Inconsistencies within Residence Life’s policies should not be the fault of the student. 

Communication needs to be better as well. Residence Life didn’t send a formal email to students regarding move-out until after many students had already left. I personally had no in-person finals and departed campus on December 12, much earlier than everyone else. It was then that I received the move-out email saying that items on the other side of the room needed to be moved.

Residence Life plays an extremely important role in a student’s experience at Fairfield. For them to be sloppy with their rules and unable to contact, is unacceptable and harmful to students’ wellbeing. 

By Liz Morin

English (Creative Writing) and Digital Journalism || Politics Minor

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