September 22, 2020

BY CASEY SCHELLENBERGER

When damage is done at Conestoga Residence & Conference Centre, it’s the students living there who pay the price.
On a month-by-month basis, the cost of any damage, including everything from vandalism and theft to vomiting in the stairwell, that can’t be blamed on a specific person, is divided between the students living in the building. This is known as community charges.
“We want to encourage people to take responsibility for their actions and mistakes that they make,” said Steve Prentice, residence life co-ordinator. “But if we can’t, we tend to look towards community charges to help recoup some of the losses.”
Sometimes not all the students living in residence are charged. Sometimes it’s only certain floors if they are the ones causing problems.
“It doesn’t need to necessarily affect the entire community,” Prentice said.
The charge for September would have been 79 cents per student, bringing in a total of $364. Included in that amount was the cost of a table that went missing.
“We decided not to charge anything in September,” Prentice said, “just to make students aware of it, so that they kind of understood the idea behind it.”
Mike DiFlorio, the residence’s operations manager, thinks that the charge is an effective deterrent.
“There’s a lot of success,” DiFlorio said. “The students will be upset … they feel like, ‘Why do I have to pay for someone else?’ and they actually almost police themselves.”
DiFlorio said that, if they were able to identify a suspect, they would charge that person instead of everyone.
“That’s what we prefer to do, but there are times we just can’t identify who did something,” DiFlorio said.
Some students disagree with the charge.
Thomas Dill, a first-year computer programmer/analyst student who lives in residence, wasn’t even aware that community charges existed.
However, when told about them, he said, “It’s not fair because I didn’t do it.”
Information about the community charges is in the lease all students in residence sign, DiFlorio said.
“It’s not anything new or hidden, they’re signing off saying that they read and understood that portion of the lease.”