Administrators trying to address housing issues

Residents of Varnado Hall are still unhappy with the living conditions in their dormitory. One student took it upon herself to open the dialog between students, faculty and staff of the hall by creating a petition outlining residents’ grievances.

Julia Falgout, a freshmen psychology major, started the “Petition to reopen the ballroom and to drop the rules that have gone too far” with the help of her parents. It outlines promises from staff that have not been completed and issues with the dorms students have experienced.

The petition stated Varnado still lacked sound-proof practice rooms on each floor, an art room, piano and dance studio.

According to Falgout, these amenities feature broken easels, an out-of-order grand piano in the ballroom and a statement that dancers are not allowed to practice in the dorms.

As for the practice rooms, Assistant Director of Housing Jim George said the following on Nov. 13: “The rooms are open for use, but the door and ceiling still need to be sound-proofed.”

George is also a resident of Varnado and agrees that he can hear people practicing from his room, noise that can create a problem for studying or sleeping students.

Since the Sept. 27 release of the Current Sauce’s last article on Varnado, two new rules have been implemented that the petition is arguing against.

On Oct. 17, residents were informed the ballroom would be closed nightly from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. and that they were no longer allowed to bring blankets into the area.

Falgout explained these become issues for students who want to study late with friends of the opposite gender or who want to study after their roommate has gone to sleep.

“The petition [won’t] help since most of the problems are above Varnado,” George said upon becoming aware of it.

In response to the petition, Varnado staff decided to hold meetings for residents to state their grievances.

A “brown paper bag” event was held in the ballroom on Nov. 8, of which only five residents attended. On Nov. 13, a “PB&J and PJs” event was held, and approximately eight residents attended.

Residents at the events were asked what they would like to see happen in their dorm.

One student asked if it was possible to have an event to just talk about the various concentrations for Creative and Performing Arts students. Another asked if a sign-up sheet could be added outside of practice rooms, like the ones outside of CAPA practice rooms.

Faculty and staff associated with Varnado Hall are attempting to make the dorm more accessible to residents, but state that only a limited number of complaints have come forward.

Stephanie Dyjack, director of Housing and Resident Life on Campus, was unaware of the petition’s existence but would like to speak to students personally about issues experienced.

“I have only had one resident schedule an appointment to discuss her concerns with me regarding Varnado Hall,” she said. “I encourage residents that have concerns to always seek me out as the CLV/Housing representative here on campus.”

Dyjack and Greg Handel, the director of CAPA, said issues that have arisen are being dealt with.

“We have had several conference calls, and CLV Administrators are giving all parties involved weekly, and sometimes daily, updates,” Handel said.

“We continue to work on a few issues, but the impact of those issues on the residents is minimal at this point,” Dyjack said. “The promise from CLV in regards to the amenities … [will] be completed during the fall semester.”

The visitation policy is also under review by the university.

Students in Varnado Hall should see a completion of their promised amenities for the start of the spring 2018 semester and are encouraged to communicate dormitory issues with staff.

Stephanie Dyjack can be reached for appointments by email at [email protected] or by phone at 318-214-5400.