Along with the wide-eyed freshmen and transfer students, Stony Brook University has many new features to offer the students this fall semester and the upcoming semesters. And for the residents of the dormitories, new rules and regulations have been imposed.
Under the Terms of Occupancy, students who live in the residences are given the license to use on-campus housing, though it is noted as “a privilege and not a right.” Any violation of the rules will give the university the right “to suspend or withdraw accommodations, guest privileges or access to a campus residence to any person(s) for violation of these regulations, for health and safety reasons or for nonpayment of bills.”
The Terms of Occupancy states that “Senior Staff members and emergency personnel reserve the right to remove any personal appliance or heavy electrical equipment that is unauthorized or which is found to be a health and safety hazard.” Certain electrical appliances, like microwaves, pose a danger to the residential areas.
This semester, the new policy has allowed students to have automatic-shut off hot pots, coffee makers and toasters. Rice cookers were banned for some time at the beginning of the semester due to students using them inappropriately in previous years. Coffee makers and toasters were added to the things allowed in the dorms due to requests from the students.
Some students reacted negatively to the ban.
“I think it was quite useless to ban the rice cooker,” said Elisa Zeng, a sophomore. “Walking down all the way to the basement just to cook rice is a waste of time when you can just cook it in your room.”
Others didn’t even know that they have been banned or that they are now allowed to make their own coffee and reacted ecstatically to the news.
“Yay,” said Junior Alice Lin. “I don’t drink coffee, but it’d be really convenient for my friends who do.”
According to Executive Director of Environmental Health and Safety Gary Kaczmarczyk, students are allowed to have these appliances as long as they use them in the designated cooking areas.
This new policy was also met with mixed reactions.
Zeng believes that is unreasonable to make the students, especially those not in the cooking dorms, go all the way down to the kitchen just to make rice or a cup of coffee.
But according to David Scarzella, the Director of Residential Risk Management and John Gallo, the Manager of Fire Safety, these policies were revised mostly due to safety reasons and some students’ improper use of kitchen appliances. The designated kitchen areas in the building are built to withstand cooking whereas dorm rooms are not. The bedrooms don’t have the proper ventilation and the cooking may attract various insects to the rooms. “Students may set off fire-alarms,” Scarzella said. “And the more they happen, the less concern they have that it’s an actual fire.”
Scarzella is concerned that in the event of a real fire, students may not react appropriately due to previous fire alarms being set off due to appliances being used in the bedrooms. If used in the kitchen however, the appliances will pose no hazard.
As long as students abide by these policies and safety hazards, they are guaranteed a safe and risk-free environment to be called home for the next few months.