Things get heated at Hodgins Retreat: safety issues arise
Natalie Sutton, Staff Writer
October 5, 2012
Filed under News
Fights, sexual assaults, and weapons, oh my! What exactly has been going on at the Hodgins Retreat Apartments lately?
One student witnessed a heated fight at Hodgins on the night of Sept. 29.
“Basically someone’s boyfriend from off-campus came to pregame and went into an apartment and started talking s— about the Marines,” said a sophomore who wished to remain anonymous. “He ended up getting punched in the face by a football player … and his girlfriend was sobbing. The cops came and left and then came back again because the guy kept leaving my friend’s place and talking s— and getting hit.”
Incidents like this seem to be more common lately at Hodgins, as tales of fights and weapons have become the talk of the community.
“I heard a couple weeks ago there was a fight in which multiple people ganged up and beat up a Guilford student over stealing some alcohol,” said a junior who also wished to remain anonymous. “I also heard that there was a fight last weekend where someone threatened to get a gun.”
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Aaron Fetrow has heard such complaints, and is aware of two incidents where students reported fights and significant disruptions at Hodgins.
“I find it a bit ironic that there are students in our community who are very upset when RAs and Public Safety enforce the rules, and some of those same students are now upset that we do not have a presence in Hodgins to ‘keep them safe,’” said Fetrow in an email interview.
After Guilford College chose to discontinue its partnership with Hodgins last year, the apartments are now considered an off-campus living space.
Still, it houses a lot of Guilford students, many of whom enjoy socializing there on the weekends.
Sandy Bowles, director of student judicial affairs, has heard reports of fights, sexual misconduct and consumption of alcohol and other drugs.
“This is the fourth year Hodgins has housed students,” said Bowles. “During the first year, a major fight happened resulting in judicial charges. During the second and third years, when the property was staffed and run by Guilford, we had some substance use issues, but nothing else was reported. During the first month of this, the fourth year, when the property is not staffed by Guilford, we’ve had two significant fights.”
Many feel that although there have been some serious incidents at Hodgins lately, incidents can happen anywhere.
“Students need to think about their accountability and responsibility for ‘safety’ at Hodgins, just as they do in Legacy, Madison Woods or Westborough,” said Fetrow.
Junior Malikah French thinks that the safety issues at Hodgins results from a combination of factors.
“I think that the fights that occurred have made some students feel less safe, but fights can happen anywhere,” said French. “It’s all been a mix of the wrong people at the wrong time mixed with alcohol and a hostile environment. There have been fights on campus, downtown and I’m sure in everyone’s hometowns. Those incidents shouldn’t speak on the safety level of Hodgins.”
As far as fighting goes, Fetrow sticks firmly to a no-tolerance policy.
“It is important to remember that fighting is simply not tolerated at Guilford,” said Fetrow. “If our students are involved in the fights at Hodgins, they will no longer be our students.”
Some feel that, without the presence of Public Safety or RAs, things may get out of control.
“It’s just as safe as anywhere on campus, but its proximity to campus without the same structure of school rules allows people to get wild without worry of consequence,” said senior Taylor Sutton.
The question now is what is the next step that the Guilford community should take to make students feel safe.
“Interestingly, Hodgins is almost exclusively Guilford students,” said Fetrow. “If there is behavior happening that makes others feel unsafe, then what should the folks living in Hodgins and hosting gatherings do to make it feel more safe?
We will enforce our Student Code of Conduct, but that is pretty meaningless to the person with a broken nose or a hospital bill. Students have the power to not allow the gatherings to get out of control.”