Andrew Holleran / Photo editor
Park-Stradley Hall residents returned to their dorm after winter break to find a change in the layout: the doors to their bathrooms had been removed.
The doors were removed over break due to feedback from residents who said they would “feel more secure if there was no divider between the hallways and that area,” said Dave Isaacs, spokesman for Student Life, in an email.
The Park-Stradley bathrooms have the same setup as six other halls on campus: Mack Hall, Canfield Hall, Bradley Hall, Patterson Hall and Scholars East and West. These buildings have a common sink area with multiple separate rooms off that area that each hold a toilet and a shower, Isaacs said.
Park-Stradley has about four common, semiprivate bathrooms on residential floors. The bathrooms are co-ed.
The doors that were removed were the doors to the common sink area. The other rooms remain closed off and private. The other six halls with this setup do not have doors closing off their sink areas, so Student Life decided to make Park-Stradley’s design consistent with that layout.
Park-Stradley was designed with the doors because there was initially feedback that “the ability to close the door to the common areas in the bathroom pods would be desirable for students,” Isaacs said, but as the semester went on, new feedback from residents suggested otherwise.
The feedback came from hall staff talking to their residents and reporting those requests up the chain of command, Isaacs said.
Some residents of Park-Stradley have been speculating that the doors were removed because of multiple reported sex crimes that occurred in the residence hall last semester.
“They (Park-Stradley staff) gave us some excuse, but most residents know it was because there were several rape cases in Park-Stradley first semester, and they want to cut down on activity after hours in the bathrooms,” said Connor Quinn, a Park-Stradley resident and first-year in political science. “(They’re) trying to cut down on that reputation Park-Stradley has right now.”
Multiple sex crimes were reported in Park-Stradley during Fall Semester. However, Isaacs said that there was not a direct line between the sex crimes and the removal of the bathroom doors.
Two rapes were reported to have taken place in Park-Stradley on Oct. 12 and Nov. 21, and a gross sexual imposition was reported Nov. 4. The location of the Nov. 21 reported rape has since been changed to Patterson Hall and the case has been closed.
The cost for the door removal has not been finalized, but the money came from project contingency funds that pay for changes after a project is completed, Isaacs said.
Some Park-Stradley residents said the door removal came as a surprise.
“It was a little weird at first seeing it. I’m confused as to why they did that, but otherwise I’m fine with it,” said Isabelle Beecy, a first-year in psychology.
Other students noticed other differences in the bathroom that took place over break.
“The doors now swing shut automatically where the bathrooms are,” said Hannah Gray, a second-year in city and regional planning. “(Before) they would be able to just be open all the time.”
Gray also said she had heard rumors relating the doors’ removal to the sex crimes.
“I think that there were some issues going on with girls being taken advantage of in the building, so I think that’s why they did it. So it wouldn’t be so closed off,” Gray said.