Six Boathouse Residents Abandon Ship over Curtain Flap

It’s a good thing we’re all friends, Boathouse residents say, as they feel their privacy has been stripped since the Tampa fire marshal declared their curtains a safety hazard.

‘It sucks without curtains,’ said freshman Boathouse resident Brooke Hudgins. ‘Now guys can just run in and sometimes we’re naked. That goes for the maintenance workers as well.’

The controversial issue involving the Boathouse and the curtains that used to separate student’s beds continues to be a problem.

After fire marshals entered the residence hall and checked for fire hazards earlier this semester, students were given a deadline and were told they must take the curtains down and move the furniture around to ensure that all the exits had enough room around them.

Not only is the residents privacy compromised but other issues like school work are being affected.

Jeff Clements, a freshman and also a resident of Boathouse said, ‘It just sucks because you can’t get any work done. The only good thing is we get along, it wouldn’t work if we weren’t friends.’

‘There is no such thing as your own room now, it is one big room,’ Ryan Linares, a freshman and boathouse resident said.

Now that the Boathouse has become one large room, with no privacy for the residents, some have moved out. The circumstances were considered out of the ordinary and requests to leave were granted. So far six residents have left the boathouse, four males and two females.

Stefan Allard said, ‘A lot of our roommates left. Everything is a mess, it’s basically one big room with a lot of trash.’

Expensive New Curtains

In addition, residents were told if they wanted to put any type of curtain back up, it had to be a certain type of Chinese curtain, costing approximately $200, and that they were to pay out of their own pockets.

Residents in Boathouse have yet to buy these curtains.

Matthew Lebrasseur, area coordinator of Stadium Center, McKay, Boathouse and Smiley spoke at a recent building meeting with residents about the curtain changes and advised students to present their concerns to a RHA meeting.

‘Many of the residents did just that and the RHA Executive Board heard there complaints and have been having discussions with Krystal Schofield, director of residence life as well as representatives from the facilities office about what can be done to improve the spaces in Boathouse,’ he said.

The RHA meeting was held Feb. 24 in order to request partitions for the boathouse.

The RHA executive board then visited boathouse to get a better idea of their space and how they could assist them. Molly Murphy, RHA president and a UT senior, has been trying to help the students resolve this problem as quickly as possible. The complaints were taken to ResLife and they are currently speaking with the fire marshal to come up with a permanent and economical solution.

‘What we do not want in this case, is to provide partitions for the boathouse residents that are not approved by the fire department and the fire marshal,’ Murphy said.

She recommended that residents do not stop coming to the meetings as they are held in an open forum and the debriefing of the progress will be better explained.

Marshal Checked In after the curtains were taken down, a Tampa fire marshal officer came back to make sure the curtains were down.

‘To my knowledge the inspection went fine and there were no additional concerns,’ LeBrasseur said.

Brooke Hudgins, a freshman and resident in Boathouse, said ‘We’ve gone to all the meetings but still no curtains or dividers. Kaitlyn has been doing all the work but nothing has been accomplished.’

Linares said, ‘No one has bought the curtains because we already spent too much money on the curtains we thought we could have.’

Lebrasseur said, ‘Most of the residents that I have spoken with since the initial floor meeting seem to be adjusting to the changes without any major complaints.’

Linares sums up the problem, ‘It sucks because everyone can see what your doing. They can see you sleeping and anyone can come in.’ Until the improvements are made, Boathouse residents will continue to live with limited privacy.

‘The Residence Hall Association is doing everything they can to make sure that the boathouse receives assistance in this instance however, we are simply waiting for a response from the Fire Marshall,’ said Murphy.

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