Common questions on dealing with conflicts
Q: I’m having trouble with my roommate. How can I get an immediate room change?
A: You can’t. The first step you should take, if you are having difficulty in your assigned space, is to talk with your RCA about the problem. The RCA may then recommend that you sit down and speak with your roommate/s; make an appointment with your DSL; or speak to the university ombudsman about the issue. Only when these steps have been taken will a room change be considered—if one is even available.
Q: If there isn’t space in my college, can I move to another one?
A: No. Transfer to another college during freshman and sophomore year requires the approval of the Council of Masters. Such requests are only considered in truly unusual circumstances—as in the case of a sexual assault by a member of the same college.
Q: The problem isn’t a roommate dispute—I love my roommate. But I have a medical condition that is being exacerbated by the physical layout of my room. Are there medical exceptions to the no-move rule?
A: Yes, if you have broken your leg, and live in an inaccessible space—or are facing a similar medical issue—you should contact Dean Maria Flores-Mills in the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students. She will ask you for medical documentation from a McCosh clinician, and then make a decision whether you have a valid reason to be re-assigned. The move may be either temporary, or permanent, depending on the medical situation.
Q: My roommates have forced me to live all year in the double in the suite, while they are rotating through the single. Is this fair?
A: No. It isn’t. Suites are assigned to a group of roommates, and all decisions about the division of space should be made by consensus. No one student has any more right to a space than any other student; this includes single spaces within suites. Decisions on the use of space should include plans for switching rooms during the year to allow each student a chance to live in their preferred space.
Q: My roommate has told me that her boyfriend is coming to stay for a whole week. Do I have any say in the matter?
A: Yes, you do. While students are permitted to have guests for short periods of time, extended visits are not permitted. A guest is defined as any individual who does not have a housing contract for the room in which they are staying. Roommates are expected to be sensitive to one another’s need for privacy and the effect that additional people in a small space can have on the other members of the room. Therefore, the length and frequency of visits is at the sufferance of all roommates and the Assistant Director of Housing for Student Housing. If you do not want a guest in your room, and have been rebuffed by your roommate, you should speak with your RCA about the matter.
Q: My roommate is constantly having people over in the room, and now has brought alcohol into it as well, despite my discomfort with breaking the rules—and the law. How do I avoid getting into trouble for my roommate’s behavior?
A: If you have tried to make your position clear, but your roommate is persisting, make sure you put your disapproval in writing—send your roommate an email, explaining that you do not want him serving underage drinkers in your room--and that you will not be party to his actions. That way, if he is caught by Public Safety, you will have made your opinion clear. You can also speak with your RCA or your DSL about the situation.
Q: Should I have my parents call the college office to talk about my concerns? Will that make things happen faster?
A: No. It is university policy to deal directly with students, not their parents. We are here to help you figure things out. If you have a concern, we want to hear from you directly.