Deep In The Bowels Of Bouton

Students in Bouton Hall were locked out of their bathroom after fecal matter was found in the hallway.
Students in Bouton Hall were locked out of their bathroom after fecal matter was found in the hallway.

Second-year business major Richard Mundy left his room in Bouton Hall to get dinner on April 23 when he found something he didn’t expect: someone had defecated at the end of his hallway.

“I saw it. I smelled it and I just knew it was shit,” Mundy said. “It was smudged on the radiator and there was a solid piece on the floor.”

Residents in Bouton Hall said finding piles of human waste in the shower is not uncommon, but this is the first time they have seen feces make its way into the hallway.

Director of Residence Life Corinna Caracci said she doesn’t think students’ desire to defecate throughout the residence hall is getting worse, only that students are finding different places.

“They’re braver…the sloppier they get, the more likely they’re going to get caught. They’re taking risks,” Caracci said. “It’s all disgusting.”

Students in this particular campus residence hall said this problem has been recurring for years.

Kevin Carlin, a second-year communication and media major, said that in the past two years the shower in his bathroom has been a victim of the slimy practice five or six times.

However, Carlin said he has only happened upon excrements when going to take a shower.

“I went into the stall and saw it,” he said. “I turned around and went into a different one, and I told my [Residence Assitant] after.”

Mundy said aside from his encounter in the hallway, he has also seen feces in the shower.

“[It] was in an unreachable spot,” Mundy said. “I’m just picturing someone doing that in an unreachable spot. They must have done it and kicked it somewhere.”

More than just creating a bad smell, students said the act had other repercussions.

Carlin said the affected restroom is locked for a week after every incident, forcing residents to use bathrooms on other floors.

“It’s like the ‘walk of shame’ in a towel from the third floor bathroom,” Carlin said.

Mundy said the inconvenience of traveling to various floors to use the restroom is a punishment that does not fit the crime.

However, Bouton Hall Complex Director Chanel Ward said the restroom was closed as a safety protocol and not as a
punishment.

She and other complex directors are trained to call the maintenance facilities, so it’s not a health concern for the rest of the population, Ward said. Caracci said feces, blood and vomit are hazardous to those who come into contact with it and therefore must be cleaned by authorities.

Caracci said she does not want to punish those who use the bathrooms respectfully.

“We don’t want to close the bathrooms for a long time,” Caracci said. “It just punches people in the face who didn’t do it.”

Ward said that when incidents like this happen, a hall meeting is held with herself, the RA in control of the restroom and the residents of the particular section.

The meetings are directed toward residents who use the offending restroom because people who regularly use that restroom will know something about the situation, Caracci said.

The meeting is an “open forum” in which students can discuss the current issue as well as other cases, allowing residents to be critical of their surroundings and encourage them to speak up if they see something, Ward said.

“You can correct the actions of others,” Ward said. “Say something [to them] yourself or just tell me.”

Caracci said the only way to prevent defecation in the showers is for residents to be responsible for their living space and for others actions. She said administrators have to believe what students tell them due to the lack of evidence. However, she said confronting the suspect usually solves the problem because the suspect knows that he or she is being watched.

“We’re not putting in cameras. We’re not putting in security at the bathroom. We’re not living in an authoritarian society,” Caracci said.

According to the Housing Handbook, “behavior that poses a danger to themselves or others” and “behavior that is disruptive and/or destructive to the Residence Hall environment” are grounds for revoking the student’s Residence Hall License.

The contract has nothing to do with due process, Caracci said. If the contract is broken, it is revoked.

Caracci said that usually the suspected students have offenses on their records already and alcohol use often goes along with the defecation.

“Sometimes it’s a joke,” Caracci said. “But sometimes someone has serious issues…they need help, and they will get the help that they need.”

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