Riley Harmon ’22
Sept. 26, Vol. XXIX, Issue 1
Starting in May 2019, Scripps College implemented a new furniture policy that prohibits furniture removal from rooms in residential halls. Students received an email from the Scripps Office of Residential Life (Res-Life) in March 2019 stating that all rooms would be furnished with a “bed, desk, desk chair, dresser, floor lamp and wardrobe/closet,” none of which may be removed.
Life under the new policy began in the 2019-2020 academic year, accompanied by two additional emails from ResLife reiterating the new policy sent out to students on Aug. 27, 2019 and on Sept. 8, 2019. These emails cited a lack of on-campus storage space, minimizing pest contamination and eliminating furniture that is not fire safe as motivation for the new policy. This email included threat of a financial penalty for those who disobeyed the policy.
This new policy is a stark change from the 2018-2019 academic year, during which furniture could be removed through requests submitted by the end of the previous academic year or through work orders submitted during the school year. However, at the end of the 2018 fall semester, work orders were no longer being filled because of a lack of storage space. They continued to be filled through January 2019.
This month, The Scripps Voice (TSV) circulated an anonymous poll investigating the ways that students were responding to the new policy. Seventy-five students responded in both multiple choice and short answer responses.
According to TSV’s poll, 61% of the 73 respondees have independently removed beds, chairs, and lamps for a variety of reasons. They have moved them to residential hall common spaces, suite common spaces, other student’s rooms, and off-campus storage.
“I had bought a full size bed for my room this year, moved the Scripps provided twin to another secure storage space and was told that I needed to remove my bed and return the Scripps provided one” one anonymous Scripps student wrote .
“I can’t sleep with my ESA in a small bed,” another anonymous Scripps student wrote, referring to their emotional support animal and twin xl bed provided by Scripps. “I have had a big bed for two years legally and this new policy would mean I would have to pay to store it.”
According to the poll, students have also deconstructed a number of items in their room, including beds, a chair, and a bookshelf, storing furniture pieces in their own rooms and other student’s rooms.
On deconstructing Scripps provided twin xl beds, one anonymous Scripps student wrote, “Having to stack random parts of a bed in random places definitely creates a hazard. The metal frame is pretty sharp, and I kept kicking it accidentally because there was no place to put it and got cut decently badly one time. I know people have leaned the metal frames on the wall, which could fall and be dangerous, or at the very least cause some wall damage.”
A number of students have attempted to get furniture removed officially Scripps Facilities and ResLife. Some students did not receive responses, while others some were successful in getting both quick and slow responses.
“They took my armchair through a maintenance request,” one anonymous Scripps student wrote.
“It has taken them three weeks to come get the wardrobe that I have been storing under my bed this entire time,” another anonymous Scripps student wrote.
“It took over a month of emailing accommodations and ResLife about removing my bed due to a condition I have and following up with them three times after they stopped responding or avoided my questions,” another Scripps student wrote anonymously.
The TSV poll also included a general comments section asking if students had any other experience with removing or attempting to remove furniture this year.
“This is really unpleasant for all Scripps students. It’s taking up spaces all over the residence halls; I’ve seen so many beds in common spaces and it just feels messy,” an anonymous Scripps student wrote.
“This impacted a significant portion of the senior class who had previously purchased larger beds last year when this furniture policy didn’t exist,” another anonymous Scripps student wrote.
“I just think they should have phased it out and then discouraged first years from buying beds,” a Scripps student wrote anonymously. “Some students already have them and it doesn’t make financial sense to get rid of them. Now you’re bringing first years into an environment where seniors/juniors are sharing tips on how to get around the rule instead of where no removing furniture would have been the new norm after you had phased it out. A lot of people are frustrated and simply don’t care anymore (getting storage pods for example). While it’s understandable to not put this strain on maintenance, punishing those who remove the furniture and store it themselves with fines is unfair.”
Students are taking matters into their own hands to make their spaces work for them. As students make these changes in their rooms, ResLife has taken no steps to alter the policy.