EDITORIAL: DCL room inspections need standardization
Despite the existence of precise policies on paper, many University residents are still unclear about the Department of Community Living’s room inspections process in practice. This board calls on DCL to clearly convey their policies and to ensure that every DCL staff member understands and follows them. Without a uniform process, students are left in the dark about the current room check process and about any future changes.
Per an Oct. 16 DCL email, room inspections are conducted by a team of two, usually consisting of a professional staff member and a Community Advisor. They will leave a slip of paper if students pass, and a Health and Safety Inspection form if they don’t. However, DCL staff have not been following all of those procedures, leading to confusion and mixed messages among residents.
In one suite-style residence building, some residents did not receive notices that they had passed room inspections. An email from their CA told students, “If you did not receive a note saying that there was a violation, then you are all set.” This contradicts both the Oct. 16 DCL email and a Nov. 1 email from East & Skyline Area Coordinator Kate Mandel to the Justice in which she stipulated staff members will leave a pass slip after inspecting a room if residents pass.
If a student does not receive any documentation about passing an inspection, they cannot prove they did so, which is a problem.
A CA of another suite-style building told residents in an Oct. 25 email that their building had “passed with flying colors,” but noted that some residents had received “a white form noting a violation” and requested that they follow up with them. In the Nov. 1 email, Mandel stated that some of the ACs “will leave a note on the pass slip for minor concerns or violations that do not require follow-up.” This contradicts the Oct. 16 email, which states that a Health and Safety Inspection Form will be left when there are violations. Clearly, different procedures are followed between buildings — though Mandel stipulated that the inspections procedures are the same in every residence area.
These communication areas are the fault of DCL, not any one of its individual staff. This board calls on DCL to stop sending students mixed messages and follow all protocols to the letter. Standardized pass/fail slips should be placed somewhere residents can clearly see them and should identify who conducted the inspection. Moreover, CAs should be given form emails to send out to residents, ensuring clear communication of and adherence to the listed protocols across residence areas.
— Editor’s Note: The Justice did not identify the CAs mentioned in this editorial to protect their identities and ensure that they do not face punishment for a wider, systemic issue with DCL.