A Flammable Nuisance
Anyone who has spent an hour in a Suffolk dorm can tell you that the white walls and bland furniture are enough to make any person become mentally unstable. Therefore students often decorate their walls with anything from posters to business cards. Of course, the process of personalizing a space would be significantly easier if Suffolk did not have an unnecessary amount of prohibited items.
Basically, all the banned items can be put under one category: if it burns, you can’t have it. This includes, as written on the Permitted and Prohibited Items list, high-intensity lamps, living plants or any such flammable decorations, upward-facing lamps, string lights, non-university issued furniture, anything that covers more than 50 percent of a wall and tapestries of any size.
Notice that lighters and matches, both of which are highly flammable, are allowed in order to accommodate smokers on campus. While everyone has the choice to partake in this activity, it seems strange to prohibit other items under the statement that they are flammable while these are exempt.
It is also safe to say that most clothing is easily lit on fire, as well as the majority of furniture, wood items, bedding and people. If a fire starts, a tapestry is not the only thing in the dorms that will burn.
Also, in the 10 West dorms students are given a full kitchen and are asked to “apply fire safety precautions, including remaining with any item that is cooking and observing good cooking practices.” If students can be trusted to “observe good cooking practices,” why can’t they be trusted to not set their decorations on fire?
As for string lights and high-intensity lamps, an argument can be made that these items are prone to spontaneous combustion due to overheating. However, laptops, video-game systems and televisions can also run into shocking problems. String lights have been known to be confiscated when they aren’t even plugged in, begging the question of what the danger is.
By the way, when items are confiscated, the student is forced to pay a fine; because students don’t already pay enough for housing. Simply seizing the item until it can be taken out of the building will get the point across fine.
Perhaps Suffolk should put more faith in its students to not light fires in the dorm rather than throwing together an impractical list of decorations.