Fall inspections will begin on September 26, 2011. They will continue through the week until we finish all common areas. Re-inspections will occur by the following week for any common areas that had initial violations.
Here are some commonly asked questions about common area and room inspections, as well as about our weekly walkthroughs of buildings. Please note that the lists of items we look for are not necessarily comprehensive, and are merely guides to our most frequently noted violations. Feel free to contact the housing operations office with any questions or concerns you have about this process.
When do you inspect my room and my common area?
Room inspections are done by interns at the beginning of the fall semester, as well as by professional house staff after the close of school for winter break. Common areas of mods and lounges in dorms are inspected once a semester. These areas are re-inspected as needed if problems are noted during the initial inspection.
How do intern inspections work?
Interns will check each of the rooms in their designated area in an educational capacity. The intent is to catch fire, health, and safety concerns early on and prevent problems later. If interns note an issue (e.g. paper stored on a heater), they will ask you to fix the problem while they are there. If you refuse to fix the issue, the intern will inform the HOO and you will be contacted by professional staff.
Why do you enter rooms during Winter Break?
Each room must be closed up individually during winter break to save energy, prevent freezing inside the buildings, and to increase security while everyone is away from campus. To that end, each room has its windows shut and locked and the room is visually inspected at the same time. Please note that house staff will confiscate unapproved items (e.g. candles) and will call public safety to confiscate illegal items if they are seen in the room.
How do Common Area Inspections work?
Once a semester, the HOO will advertise the week we will be performing the first round of inspections. During inspections we will enter your common areas--including kitchen and bathrooms and evaluate them based on the rules and norms listed in NSNS (see below).
If we find no violations: We will give your area a pass and put a colorful pass receipt on your fridge. Congrats!
If we find violations: We will detail them on your pink sheet and hang it on your fridge. You will receive an email telling you that your area needs to address issues, and when we will return to re-check. You are responsible for contacting us prior to re-inspection if you don't understand what changes need to be made.
If we find no violations the second time: Congrats--you pass!!!
If you still have violations during the second inspection: We will contact you and you will be required to complete an educational workshop and/or community service. In addition, you will be collectively responsible as a group for any charges related to having the violation corrected by facilities and grounds. Failure to complete your community service as required will result in referral to the house director for disciplinary action.
What are you looking for during common area and room inspections?
What Are All These ‘Walk-Throughs’ I Hear So Much About?
Every week the house ops walk through the residential buildings with representatives of different trades within facilities and grounds. We’re looking both for maintenance issues that need addressing, and health and safety violations that need to be corrected by residents. If we find violations, we contact the residents involved and they are given 48 hours to correct the problem. Illegal or serious violations of community norms will result in immediate action to correct the problem.
After the 48 hour period we go back to re-check areas with issues. Uncorrected problems will result in a work order and the responsible resident/mod will be billed as necessary for the work done.
Wait a minute, I live in the mods. Does this mean you are coming into my living room each week?
No. Once a semester we do inspections of dorm lounges and mod common spaces. You’ll be given advance notice of the start date for those inspections. Weekly walkthroughs involve the outsides of all buildings (including porches, catwalks, etc); the hallways and bathrooms of dorms; the centers and halls of Greenwich donuts; and the stairwells of Prescott.
Should I just wait for the weekly walk-through instead of reporting problems with those areas of my residence?
Definitely not! We want residents to enter work orders for any problems they find in any part of their residence. We’re human and may miss something, and things get fixed a lot faster if they are reported immediately. If you notice a light out in a hall, you don’t have to even live on that hall to report it! Please just make sure you let us know exactly where the problem is each time you enter a work order.
What exactly are you looking for that I might be asked to correct?
Each housing area has its own quirks and issues, but below is a list of the things we end up contacting people about most frequently. Please consult NSNS for a complete list of community norms expectations.
*Bikes in stairwells or halls: This is NEVER acceptable, as these areas must be completely clear in case of fire. Bikes are an enormous hazard to anyone trying to navigate a smoke-filled hall or stairwell. Even if you think you’ve stored your bike in an out-of-the-way area, it cannot be there for the safety of you and of the Amherst firefighters.
*Other items, including and especially shoes and boots, in halls or stairwells: Absolutely nothing can be in halls. Imagine yourself in full firefighter gear with a heavy oxygen tank on your back. Now imagine yourself navigating a smoky hallway with zero visibility to save a trapped student. Now trip over someone’s sneakers. Not good.
*Screens that are out of windows or damaged: All screens must remain in your windows all year long. They are part of the security system, particularly in first floor rooms, and they also help keep insects and small animals out of the buildings. In addition, taking your screen out of your window can make the screen unusable because it bends the frame (even when it looks fine). Every year our carpenters spend enormous amounts of time and money fixing and replacing screens. We’d all like them focusing on other work on campus, so please help out by leaving your screen in place.
If your screen falls out by accident, please notify the HOO immediately and we will have it put back in your window at no charge. This prevents further damage to the frame, and keeps you free of personalized HOO emails!
*Overflowing trash/recycling/food left out: This one is pretty obvious--it’s gross, it smells, it attracts pests, and it’s your responsibility to keep it under control. This includes trying to compost on catwalks or porches!
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