UB Bans Use of the Word 'Dorms' in Dorms

The university announced Monday that students will no longer be able to use the word 'dorms' when in or around the university's residence halls. The administrative action comes on the heels of increase in the use of the word throughout the campus.

"We aren't called the department of University Residents Halls and Apartments for nothing," said Joseph Krakowiak, director of residence halls. "Dorms are what soldiers are housed in."

"The word 'dorms' is a very harsh word and it brings to mind bad images," said Dennis Black, vice president for Student Affairs. "We want to make students feel comfortable while they are on campus."

Despite student complaints that Ellicott is "dark and dismal," there is no need to use such disdain when referring to the structure, said Krakowiak.

"Ellicott needs work, we know that, but in the meantime we could treat the buildings with a little more respect both physically and emotionally," he added.

"We have been made aware of the policy change and will be enforcing the rule to the fullest extent possible," said Timothy Swanley, a resident advisor in Porter Quad.

According to Krakowiak, if a student is caught using the "D-word" in or around a residence hall, the University Police will be called and the matter will be handled in the same manner as any violation on campus.

"Students caught using the word in the residents halls will be referred to the Student Wide Judiciary," said John Grela, director of University Police.

"I don't necessarily agree with the new policy," said Trevor Torcello, chief justice of the SWJ, "but we, as the SWJ, must enforce all university policies, whether we agree with them or not."

The students will receive community service hours based on the number of other infractions committed, according to Torcello.

"The more times a student breaks this rule, the harsher the punishment that they receive," said Black.

According to Barbara Ricotta, dean of Student Affairs, students will be made aware of the policy change via the UB student listserv, flyers posted across campus and information packets handed out when a student makes a purchase at a university dining facility. Matthew Weigand, director of new student programs, said his department will also educate incoming freshmen on the new policy during their orientations.

"We think that this change will improve the spirit of not only the students, but also the people visiting our campus," said Ricotta.

Theresa Zabawa, a freshman psychology major, disagreed.

"This is the dumbest policy I have ever heard," she said. "I live in Ellicott and the word 'dorms' is gentle in comparison to what these buildings should be called."

"They are dungeons," said Amy Campbell, a freshman biology major who commutes to UB. "When I took a tour of the campus, the dorms were what made my decision to stay at home an easy one."

This past year UB was ranked near the top of a list ranking the schools with the worst residence halls.

"We are working to correct the problem and I think that this policy change will take a step, albeit a small one, to improve the residence halls," said Krakowiak.

"Ellicott may need a little work, but by calling them 'residence halls' instead of 'dorms' during the tours and information sessions, we will be able to make the residence halls seem more homey," said Regina Toomey, director of admissions.

Students may still use the word in conversation around the campus as long as they "are not in or around the dorms," said Black.

"This rule is so stupid. I'll say the word 'dorms' whenever I can now," said Lisa Nasca, a senior graphic design major.

"We are ready to enforce the policy all over the campus if that is what is needed," said Grela. "We will do whatever is necessary to improve this campus."