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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

September 25, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

News

Substance-free housing bothers some residents

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Freshmen Jarrett Linowes, Andrey Stejko and Rafael Ferreira, who say they did not choose to live in Hood Hall, hang out yesterday in the residence hall. GRAHAM/THE ITHACAN

Though Hood Hall serves as a substance-free housing option, Vickie Woodhead, residence director for Holmes, Hood, Hilliard and Eastman halls, said Hood received two drug and alcohol policy violations in the hall last semester. Some students who did not choose to live in the residence hall have shown frustration with Hood’s policies.

At the beginning of a semester, students living in Hood sign a substance-free agreement, which states they will refrain from using illegal drugs, alcohol and tobacco in the hall. Residents cannot enter under the influence of alcohol or drugs and are responsible for the actions of guests.

Investigator Tom Dunn said since 1998, Hood Hall has received six drug violations, two alcohol complaints and six irresponsible alcohol use violations. The latest violation occurred Sunday for irresponsible use of alcohol.

Woodhead said three out of about 108 students in Hood did not choose to sign the agreement. However, students who do not sign the contract are still held to the same standards.

“A few people did not want to sign it because they did not want to live in substance-free housing,” Woodhead said. “They were [some] of the people that were placed there because there really just wasn’t any room on campus.”

Freshman Rafael Ferreira said he was placed in Hood Hall and did not choose to live there. Ferreira said he filled out a change-of-housing form at the beginning of the school year and has been on the waiting list since then.

“I’m not necessarily pleased with it,” he said. “I could understand if they could take [my situation] into more consideration since I’ve been trying since the beginning of the year.”

Linda Koenig, assistant director for housing services and communications, said there could be several reasons for a student to remain on the waiting list.

“It would depend on what their preferences are,” she said. “If they’re looking for something very specific, we might not have it.”

Ferreira said a few of his friends received written warnings for smoking on the balconies of Hood Hall earlier in the school year.

“There’s a handful of people in Hood Hall that abide by the agreement, but me personally, I know there’s quite a few kids who don’t really go by it,” he said.

Freshman Jarrett Linowes said he was placed in Hood Hall when he couldn’t find housing. Linowes said he was written up by a resident assistant for having “suspected beer cans.” He plans to look for different housing next year.

“It’s really quiet here, and sometimes too quiet,” Linowes said. “I feel like I’m watched closer just because it’s a substance-free dorm.”

However, sophomore Marissa D’Ambrosio, also a Hood resident, said many students who live in the hall choose to because of its location and quiet environment.

“I do live a substance-free life,” she said. “I don’t go out or drink or smoke any substances, so for me, it was a great fit.”

Junior Benjamin White-Patarino, a resident assistant in Hood Hall, said students who choose to live there tend to obey the substance-free agreement, but it can be frustrating dealing with students who are forced to live in the building and disobey the contract.

“There are some people who are here who don’t want to be here who completely throw away that contract and become problems,” he said.

Woodhead said the entire building is expected to help implement substance-free policies in the Hood community and encourages students to contact her with concerns about others violating the agreement.

“It all comes down to community enforcement,” she said. “If every single resident in the building signed this agreement but no one wanted to report what was going on, then there’s only so much that me and my staff can do.”