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Paying The Price: Damage Charge Irks Students

By Angela Dunn ’16

Staff Writer


There’s been an uptick in destructive behavior on the part of a few people, and many students living in the St. Ann Apartments could be paying the price.

Students in Apartments G-M received an e-mail from college officials warning they could share in the cost of fixing a large hole in a first-floor wall that happened Nov. 14. The e-mail said that all residents will see a charge on their accounts on Nov. 20 for the damages unless someone admits to being responsible.

“Since the damage was done in a common space, the amount it costs to fix the damage will be split among everyone living in the Saint Ann Apartments if the responsible individuals are not found,” the email states.

Students on the second and third floors of Apartment J received an e-mail saying they could also be charged for $1,000 worth of damage done when someone threw a hockey puck through the windshield of a police cruiser on Nov. 6. The email threatened students saying that unless someone came forward and admitted to throwing the puck or had any information, all students living on the second and third floors of Apartment J would be fined $1,000 to pay for the damages.

While condemning the destructive actions of those involved, many residents said they are furious they will have to pay for the damage.

“I don’t think it’s fair for the people of that resident area to be responsible for paying the damages,” said a senior living in Apartment J. “We can’t control everyone that comes and goes from the apartments.”

Senior Pat Florence, who is also a resident of Apartment J, stated, “I was standing by our tower when it happened, so I am letting the police know that it didn’t come from our building. I never saw the flight of the puck, just saw it bounce away from the car.”

Student Allison Farina decided to step up and take action by creating a petition for the students who are being charged for the damages. On the petition, she stated, “I will print out all your comments and signatures and hand them to Res Life, and if we can reach 100 signatures — I’ll take it to (President) Hopey.”

As of Wednesday, November 18, the petition had 95 signatures. She also wrote in the petition she chose to live in the St. Ann Apartments to “live an independent life my senior year in preparation for life after college.”

“I could have searched for apartments off campus, yet I chose to stay on campus as this ‘independent living environment’ was being offered and it was most convenient,” Farina said. “If I am being penalized for another person’s actions, I am not being treated as an individual.”

Associate Vice President of Communications, James Chiavelli, said the administration is aware of the petition. He urged students who feel they have an issue to take it up with the Mission and Student Affairs Office. He said that charging for damages to school property is detailed in the student handbook.

“Every student is expected to be familiar with the student handbook and is abiding by the law,” Chiavelli said.

To sign the petition: https://www.change.org/p/merrimack-college-when-your-being-penalized-for-something-you-didn-t-do-at-merrimack-college

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