Residence Services

Ted Hamilton

Residents who renewed contracts for rooms in Centennial Court D may be disappointed if they failed to read the fine print on the Residence Services Web site. The hall, one of the last to ban alcohol for students over 21, now joins the others that forbid it. Only Engleman, Centennial Court C, Korb and half of Leebrick (floors one through five) permit alcohol.

Although it can be argued our publicly funded university should not be allowed to prohibit a legal substance in rooms that students pay an exorbitant amount of money to live in, the real problem in this case is Residence Services not informing students that situations in the room they renewed have changed.

Ben Gray, a senior integrated mathematics major, renewed his contract for Centennial Court D last spring, not realizing alcohol was now prohibited. In fact, he did not learn until this summer while he and I were working together and I asked him how he felt about the new policy – he had never heard of a change in the policy.

During break, he looked at Centennial Court D’s information page and saw I had not been mistaken.

“I wouldn’t have renewed the contract if I had known they decided to prohibit alcohol,” Gray said.

He was even more surprised when he asked his resident assistant and found his RA had no idea the policy had been changed. Furthermore, Gray’s roommate told him the residence hall director also never heard of the alcohol policy change. It was almost as if the Web site was changed and no one – not even the staff – was told. Luckily, Gray had about two weeks to opt out of the contract, which he and his roommate both did.

“It’s kind of like those TV commercials with the fine print that is impossible to read,” he said.

Why would Residence Services change the alcohol policy but not tell residents? One reason could be because a lot of students would not renew their contracts and move off campus. There probably would not be any immediate loss of revenue if more students started to move off campus, but eventually Kent State might have to start lowering the price of living on campus to attract students – as opposed to making policies that will scare potential residents away. There could be a less sinister reason; maybe an e-mail was misplaced or a memo forgotten.

Either way, I think Residence Services owes some residents an apology. Whether by accident or on purpose, at least several people were misled by the policy change. Some of them were able to opt out of their contract in time, and to them I say bottoms up.

Ted Hamilton is a senior magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].