Volume 94, Issue 68

Wednesday, January 24, 2001


Duke prof first to offer course over Internet

Student questions Housing decision

Ivey ranked best for value

Friends mourn slain prof

Tories want to privatize drivers' license testing


Planet Me

Student questions Housing decision

By Mike Murphy
Gazette Staff

Four Essex Hall roommates are claiming they have been unfairly placed on probation following the discharge of a fire extinguisher in their room early Friday morning.

But the head of Western's division of housing and ancillary services maintains the sanctions imposed on the four students are fair and clearly outlined in their Residents' Handbook..

According to Const. Wendy McGowan of the University Police, an Essex Hall fire alarm was triggered at 2:47 a.m. on Friday morning, prompting officers to report to the scene.

Upon investigation, police learned an extinguisher had been discharged in one of the rooms, activating the building's fire alarm.

"Residents were interviewed and a suspect was identified," she said. However, due to lack of evidence no further action could be taken, she added.

One of the four residents who has been disciplined, first-year media, information and technoculture student Michael Yokota, said he went to bed at around 2 a.m., adding he was awakened by the alarm and only noticed as he was leaving the apartment that the extinguisher had been discharged.

Yokota said neither he nor any of his roommates is responsible for the incident, though they did leave the main apartment door open after going to sleep, which could have allowed another resident to pull the prank.

Each of the four roommates received a letter from their residence manager later that day notifying them they had been placed on probation, he added. The letter explains residents on probation cannot run for residence government and cannot apply to live in residence again until Jan. 1, 2002.

"I think that the residence officials wield their power in too arbitrary a way," he said. "I was 100 per cent satisfied with my residence experience. [But] this one incident has totally soured me against residence."

Yokota's roommate, first-year MIT major Brian Wong, said he recognized his obligation to pay for damages, but disagreed with the disciplinary action taken against him.

"I don't mind paying for the damages to the room, but I think it's unfair that we've been put on probation," he said.

Susan Grindrod, associate vice-president of housing and ancillary services, said the Residents' Handbook and Understandings makes it clear residents are responsible for anything that happens in their room.

"The issue is that it's their room," she said. "We hold the inhabitant of the suite responsible for what happens in it."

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