The damage inflicted on the Pei Third Court lounge in recent weeks has led to numerous emails, community discussions, the threat of students being charged for damage and even a police investigation.
The recent damage includes holes and drawings on the walls, heavy damage to the fridge, large paint chips and two small fires that left the stove and oven unusable.
The small oven-top fires raised particular concern as one student believed them to be intentional, but investigation is still underway and no conclusion has been reached. Third Court resident and first-year Hannah Yates and her guest at the time, Alex Straker, witnessed some of the fire damage firsthand.
“We were just in the room about to go to sleep, and then Alex heard the fire alarm before I did,” Yates said. Yates and Striker entered the lounge to find a small stovetop fire, which a student had put out. Straker returned to the room and reported hearing the alarm a second time. Straker returned to find another small stovetop fire, and says he and a student put it out.
“She poured like a cup of water over it and I quickly ran over and turned it off then I got out of the room,” Straker said. Straker stayed until the police arrived and explained to the officers what had happened. Two days later, Yates and Straker were called upon to give official statements about what they had witnessed.
“It was just weird because after the fact, after the fire happened we didn’t think anything of it,” Yates said. “We assumed someone left the stove on and it was a cooking accident or something.” Both were asked to provide statements to the police about the incident in the following days. “The main question they were asking was ‘did you see anyone setting the fire?’ but we didn’t see anyone set it,” Straker said.
“The damage was a result of someone being careless,” first-year Gabriella Sanchez commented. “The person culpable should have had the dignity to own up to their actions.”
Residential Advisors (RA) have contacted the students more than once, and in light of the last wave of damage, warned, “If something like this happens again, we will be closing the lounge for the rest of the year. This is supposed to be a community space, remember and respect the community standards set at the beginning of the year.”