The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday January 31st

‘It is, quite literally, a shitshow’: Fecal incidents wreak havoc on Winston residents

A sign outside the second floor bathroom in Winston Dormitory.
Buy Photos A sign outside the second floor bathroom in Winston Dormitory.

CLARIFICATION:  The University maintains a weekend housekeeping staff to address certain cleaning needs that arise on weekends. If a student discovers a mess in the bathroom on the weekend, they should report it to their RA so that it can be addressed.

Numerous residents living on the second floor of Winston Residence Hall have reported that the bathroom has been the site of numerous fecal incidents. Residents have experienced seeing human feces on the walls, floors and toilets.

Carolina Housing is aware of the issue and has sent the residents multiple emails, but has not been able to prevent further episodes. One email from late September began with, “I think we all know where this email is going.”

In a statement to The Daily Tar Heel, Associate Director of Carolina Housing Rick Bradley said Housing has communicated with its residents directly and has nothing further to share.

“It is, quite literally, a shitshow,” said Wendy Yu, a Winston Hall resident. “As far as we know, they haven’t said anything about how they’re actively trying to see who it is, other than ‘If you know something, tell your RA.’” 

Yu and sophomore resident Emma Lane said they know video cameras in bathrooms are illegal, so holding the individual responsible is difficult. 

“I don’t know what more they could do, but I do wish they were communicating with us a little bit more,” Lane said.

Initially, incidents were made known to the floor in the GroupMe, sometimes with pictures. After the episodes continued, Lane said Housing began holding floor meetings and requesting residents refrain from discussing the feces in public. 

“The first time was the weekend we moved in, actually, and it was all over the toilet seat and the floor,” Yu said. “It’s happened maybe 10 or 11 times since then. The first time it happened, no one knew what to expect, but it just keeps happening.”

Winston is a 168-occupancy coed residence hall, but the second floor is female-only. The gender of the individual responsible for the incidents is assumed to be female by the other residents on the hall. 

“I don’t want to shame this girl in any way, and I hope she knows that,” said Julie Park, Winston resident. “It’s just gotten to the point where it’s just a health code violation, and it’s really gross and no one should have to live in these conditions.”

In an email sent on Sept. 27, Community Director of the Connor Community Katie Lewis emphasized Housing’s ability to help residents with medical needs, but also wrote that the individual found responsible may need to pay damage fees and go through the conduct system. 

Leaving feces in the bathroom common areas is a violation of the Facilities-Based Standards within the Community Living Standards, which all residents agree to in their contract.

“Part of me wants a partial refund for my housing because I pay so much for it, and I can’t use the bathroom sometimes and it’s just very frustrating,” Lane said. 

While Lane has said the incidents have not motivated her to move out at this time, Yu discussed the difficulties with canceling her housing contract.

“It’s kind of a weird position because it’s not really an option to move out, because if you move out, it has to be approved by the University and you have to pay a penalty,” Yu said.

Housing does not require approval from the University to cancel a contract, however individuals who cancel their contract will pay fees. More than nine weeks have passed since the start of the semester. This means Carolina Housing can require any student who cancels their contract to pay their entire semester’s rent, as well as a $300 fee to move off-campus.

“We don’t have another option because there’s only one bathroom,” Park said. 

Park said the incidents have been ostracizing and said aside from her roommate, she does not trust half of the girls she lives with. Lane also said she feels distant from hallmates she did not know before the year began and has been suspicious of other residents.

“I’ll definitely walk down the hall and think, ‘Maybe that’s her,’” she said.

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