Seventeen residents of the Santa Cruz Residence Hall received eviction notices Wednesday afternoon after university officials said the group caused hundreds of dollars in damage to the hall’s 1300 wing and continually harassed hall employees.
Residents of the all-male wing on the building’s ground floor – home to about 50 students – said they received a letter from Wilfred Brown, executive director of Housing and Residential Services, stating the various allegations against them and informing them of their eviction. Cameron Snyder, a first-year psychology major and one of those being evicted, said the charges include repeated instances of alcohol consumption, urination in the hall, vomiting in the hall and destruction of the hall bathroom. Snyder said he and the 16 other residents of the 1300 wing have also been accused of intimidating resident assistants, the custodial staff and the permanent staff. He said the group has until this Friday at 2 p.m. to move out.
Snyder said that despite the inappropriate behavior of some members of the hall’s 1300 wing, he thought many of the residents slated for eviction did not contribute to the problems and are being removed arbitrarily.
“We’re a rowdy bunch of guys, but I don’t think it’s fair they’re accusing all of us,” Snyder said. “It seems like it’s a witch hunt to see who they can accuse. It’s really not fair – they don’t have real proof.”
Snyder said several of those who received eviction notices have fewer citations and write ups from RAs than other residents of the wing who are not being kicked out. He said he has been written up by an RA once this year during Fall Quarter for a noise violation. Several of Snyder’s hall mates said they agreed with his assessment, saying comparisons between their respective disciplinary records show students with very few or zero offenses were being treated the same as students with very many or more serious offenses.
Brown, Santa Cruz Resident Director Nikki Laird and Santa Cruz Assistant Resident Director Mike Baray could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.
According to an online version of the resident handbook given to all occupants of university-owned dorms, “If a student does not exhibit conduct conducive to residence hall living, it is grounds for termination of his/her residence hall contract and may affect his/her opportunity to return to the halls the following years.”
The 17 students being evicted met with Associate Dean of Judicial Affairs Joseph Navarro, Angie Tozier of Judicial Affairs and Stephan Franklin of Greek Affairs on Wednesday to discuss the charges and their consequences. Snyder said the residents were also told that RAs were afraid of residents in the 1300s wing and patrolled down the hall in pairs while performing rounds. University officials also accused the group of urinating and throwing trash on the resident director’s door, and that residents in the 1300 wing were responsible for 70 percent of incidents recorded in a weekly report about residence hall damage.
Charity Seaborn, hall council president of Santa Cruz, said the 1300 wing accounted for $600 worth of hall damages since February 2005, compared to $30 to $100 worth of damages at other individual wings.
The wing’s members met with university officials once during Fall Quarter and once Winter Quarter about their behavior, Snyder said, but they never expected such drastic action on behalf of the university.
Officer Mark Signa, UC Police Dept. spokesman, said officers were at the residence hall Wednesday afternoon to maintain order as the residents were informed of their eviction orders. The notifications occurred without incident, Signa said.
Bill Shiebler, the RA of the 1300 wing, and other RAs of the building declined to comment about the evictions Wednesday, citing a gag order from their supervisors.
In an interview Wednesday night with 13 of the students given eviction notices, several said they felt they were not given a fair hearing and that it seemed they were “guilty until proven innocent.” They said university officials told them they could file an appeal with Tozier by 10 a.m. today. The appeals would then be sent to Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Michael Young.
If an appeal is filed, the group said the university would reach a decision this afternoon on whether they would be allowed to stay in the residence hall until a formal hearing could be scheduled. Nearly all of the residents said they have contacted a lawyer about their eviction.
If their appeals are denied, many said they do not have other housing options. One resident said apartments in Isla Vista would be difficult to find mid-quarter and living with friends would be too crowded.
Others said they worried how they would transport their belongings without a car. Many said they were told to go to the Community Housing Office for help at their meeting with university officials Wednesday, but the office was closed by the end of the meeting. The group also said they were unable to contact other university officials, such as Brown, their resident director or assistant resident director to discuss other options.
Ricardo Franco, one of the residents who received an eviction notice, said he had never been cited or been in trouble with RAs, the RD or any university disciplinary board.
“I don’t smoke or drink alcohol or anything,” Franco said. “My roommate and I have been targeted wrongfully because we never do anything. We [barely] come out of our room. I’ve got too much homework to go out of my room and my roommate is just playing video games.”