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Tooker, Vista del Sol housing damages may be split among all residents

Residents may be charged to cover the cost of damages done to residence halls including missing exit signs, fire extinguishers, light covers and labels to dorm wings and rooms


A photo illustration of a broken fire extinguisher cabinet inside Tooker House on the Tempe campus on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022. Original image courtesy Said Okuyucu. 

Tooker House and Vista del Sol residents received an email from University Housing last month that said individuals may be charged for damages made to the buildings. According to documents shared with The State Press, at Tooker, the amount approximates $10,000.

"If this behavior continues, and we are not able to determine who is responsible for these damages, we will move forward with charging the whole building for these damages," said Derrick Shaw, community coordinator at Tooker House, in an email sent on Oct. 19.

An email was also sent to Vista Del Sol and Villas at Vista del Sol residents on Oct. 17 relating to similar damages of missing exit signs and vandalism. 

"We may administer community billing charges and assess them to each student's account until we are able to identify the person or persons responsible for these damages," said Denise Mitchell, area coordinator of Vista del Sol and Villas at Vista del Sol in the email.

ASU spokesperson Gabriella Kemp said if an individual is found responsible for any damages will be charged the cost of the damages, potentially removed from living on-campus and held accountable through the student code of conduct. 

"The letters that have gone out to the community serve the purpose of notifying students about the vandalism, asking for students to report what they know that could bring the responsible individuals forward," Kemp said. 

Kemp did not clarify if or when all residents of Tooker, Vista and Villas at Vista del Sol would be charged. 

"Residents are prohibited from vandalizing, damaging, or destroying university or other individuals' property," ASU's University Housing Policy reads. "Any damages to the community will be billed back to the individuals who caused the damage or split among the residents that live in that community."

The University Housing Policy and the Student Code of Conduct do not state why ASU has the right to charge students as a whole. 

READ MORE: Opinion: ASU should not collectively charge residents in student housing for damages

The damages in Tooker range from missing light covers, fire extinguishers, exit signs with stray wires and door number plates.

"I was so confused at first on why they needed to send a mass email first," said Mikey Zenebe, a freshman studying chemical engineering. "They should have tried to find out who caused the damage first. I get the need to address the issue somehow, but I think adding the prices for everything was overkill. We know a lot of stuff broken we live here and see it every day."

Zenebe said the majority of issues and damages in Tooker are in the C-wing of the fifth floor and on the entirety of the seventh floor. 

"I feel like the email is pretty much an admission that they have no way of catching the people who are actually causing the damages," said Leo Wilson, a freshman studying computer science. "If I was someone that liked doing vandalism, I would read that and I would be like, I can cause more vandalism now without really any individual responsibility for it."

Wilson said he would not have immediately guessed that the Tooker damages amount to $10,000 from viewing the damages and feels like they're made by visitors, not residents, thus it is not fair for residents to be charged. 

However not every student agrees on the fairness of charging all residents. 

Freshman computer science student Said Okuyucu said, "It's messed up, but at the same time, they still need someone to pay for it. So it makes sense and also when you divide it up, it's going to be $10 a person or something, which doesn't seem like that big of a deal." 

"We encourage any student who is aware of these behaviors to report it right away to ASU Police and to the hall staff," Kemp said.

Edited by Jasmine Kabiri, David Rodish, Piper Hansen and Kristen Apolline Castillo.

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Kylie SabaCommunity Reporter

Kylie Saba is a reporter for the Community and Culture desk at the State Press. She embraces ASU life and is ready to report life as it happens. 

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