Knocking and entering: Maintenance should give more notice before entering residences

Imagine this: After a long day of classes you decide to unwind by taking a long, relaxing shower in your dorm room or apartment. You enjoy your time to relax and when you are finished you just dry off and cover up with a towel to walk right into your room to change. But right as you walk out of the bathroom, you see a maintenance crew working on something in your room — something you didn’t even call to have fixed.

Sadly, this wasn’t just a hypothetical situation, it has actually happened.

Currently, Baylor contracts with Aramark, a third party company that provides food, facilities and uniform services to universities and businesses, and they handle campus-wide maintenance. We were unable to receive a comment from them regarding residence hall entries.

According to the Guide to Community Living, Baylor maintenance “reserves the right to enter residence hall rooms and apartments to check general conditions, to preform custodial service, to make repairs, to clear a space for a new resident, to handle emergencies, to ensure compliance with University rules and regulations or if there is reason to believe that a health or fire hazard exists.”

However, often times when room entries are made, they are made unannounced to the resident living there. Even though the maintenance crew is required to perform a series of knocks at the door before entering, sometimes that is just not enough notice.

While the university legally has the right to enter a residence hall room or apartment unannounced because on campus living is part of university property and since they clearly outline the room entry protocol in the community living and learning guidelines given to residents when they first move in, residents should be well aware.

But even with that in mind, residents should still be given prior notice to when maintenance crews are scheduled to come into their room.

Each year, on-campus residences become home to thousands of students. They become a place where students can study, relax, and live in feeling comfortable and safe. However, with the thought of maintenance crews having the ability to come in at any time, many students feel uneasy.

Understandably it is not practical to send out notices of exact times maintenance crews will arrive at each residence because work schedules are constantly changing, but it is completely reasonable to ask for notice to know what specific day maintenance crews will be in rooms, whether it was requested maintenance or just general maintenance checks.

By giving students notice that sometime during the day maintenance crews will be in the room, it gives students a chance to plan their day and know what to expect. If students are given more notice, students will feel more comfortable living in their residence halls. Baylor should respect residences as students’ homes, not just as university property.