By Amy Patterson,
“I think that it all comes down to maturity and responsibility.” said Mandy Moler, a resident assistant in Glide-Crawford, when asked about the rule that students are not permitted to keep coffee pots in their rooms.
According to the handbook for residence life, “state…fire regulations prohibit cooking in a resident’s room.” Cooking can be a broad term, but essentially, students that are residing in the dorms at Asbury are prohibited to use any type of small electrical cooking device in their rooms. This includes, but is not limited to, coffee pots. The student handbook for residence life goes on to state that, “the use of self-contained coffee pots is permitted only in designated areas.”
The designated areas that the handbook refers to are the tables in the hallways of the dorm buildings. Usually, this is a table or cabinetry type fixture that houses the microwave in each hall.
“Personally, I wouldn’t mind if students could have coffee pots in their rooms,” Moler said. “A coffee pot isn’t something that has to be plugged in all the time, and almost always the person that is using it is standing right next to it until the coffee is ready.”
Linnea Luzzo, another RA in Glide-Crawford, said, “If the coffee maker catches on fire when it is in a laundry room or on the hall, the fire would spread throughout the entire hall, but if it was in a room, wouldn’t it stay contained in that room, possibly letting other girls exit the dorm safely?”
Ironically enough, this coffee pot issue really has little to do with coffee pots at all.
“[Having coffee pots in individual rooms] is against fire code because we do not have enough circuits to [allow] it,” said Julia Sheets, Resident Director of Glide-Crawford. “If people have too many appliances, it will shut down the main power.”
Sheets explained that if every room had a coffee pot when they already have (in most rooms) a television, laptop and other electronic devices, it would eventually blow the main circuit. The circuit being blown out by an overuse of power could, then, eventually lead to a fire. Asbury’s rule mandating that the coffee pots be used and kept in common areas, such as hallways, encourages students to share them. This allows students to use one or two coffee pots for the entire hallway, rather than one or two per room.
The RAs are required to do monthly fire safety checks of the dorm rooms. They check for hazards such as candles, coffee pots or microwaves in rooms; they also check for fire hazards that are sometimes missed by students such as an extension cord being covered by a rug.
“I definitely understand why we try to enforce fire safety in the dorms, especially because a lot of the buildings are so old that they would burn down quickly,” Luzzo said.