GUEST COMMENTARY: Dorms remain safe when students follow rules

On Nov. 20, there was a small fire in Bates Residence Hall. The Houston Fire Department determined the source of the fire was a University-banned appliance – a hot plate – in a student’s room.

Fortunately, no one was harmed during the incident. However, in the days following, I learned that some residents believed key information was not made available on the night of the incident.

Although we all desire to have our questions answered promptly, emergency personnel and Residential Life & Housing staff focused on the safety and comfort of Bates Hall residents.

The hall was evacuated and, once emergency workers determined the building’s readiness for re-entry was not imminent, the students residing in the damaged rooms were provided temporary housing. Other Bates Hall residents were given the option to use the lobby in Oberholtzer Hall as a gathering place.

Please know that I view the safety and comfort of the University’s resident students as a top priority. Information pertaining to fire safety is available in the RLH planners and the letters written from the RLH executive director to residents and their parents, all of which were distributed during the August move-in.

For students to be safe in the school housing system, it is the responsibility of residents to clearly know and live within established safety guidelines.

If readers have questions, please contact me or another full-time RLH staff member.

\Javier Hidalgo is the interim executive director for residential life and housing and may be reached at [email protected]

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