On-campus athletes check out of dorms for New Years

By Emily Howland

Six male and five female Macalester basketball players were forced to find alternate means of housing on New Year’s Eve, after Residential Life closed all dorms because of heightened liability concerns for students remaining in the dorms without Resident Advisors (RAs). The only students on campus at this time were the basketball teams and some athletic trainers–no one else, not even international students, were allowed in the dorms between Dec. 22 and Jan. 2.

Athletic team coaches were left scrambling to find players who are from outside of Minnesota to find roofs under which to sleep.

“It is bad for [Residential Life] to assume we have a place to go. It was annoying worrying about if I had all my stuff for the night,” said Brittni Chicuata ’08, a basketball player from San Francisco.

Many athletes found residences at teammates houses for the night, and coaches and captains were urged to provide evening activities, such as movies and games.

“I felt bad for out-of-state players who had nowhere to go,” Women’s Basketball Coach Ellen Thompson said. “[The policy] came upon me suddenly but my team was great. It was an inconvenience and an annoyance.”

But according to Director of Residential life Sarah Griesse, the lack of supervision, along with typical behavior on New Year’s Eve, posed potentially dangerous situations.

“Students look at the college’s concerns and think they are ridiculous but our eye is to safety and liability of students. When no one is in a hall it can be intimidating and scary for some people. We try to be proactive about it,” Griesse said. Though the rule did not leave anyone on the streets on New Year’s Eve, there loomed confusion about the purpose of the policy, which only complicated athletes’ already premature transition from home to school.

Basketball player Scott Martinson ’09 found himself up for grabs among seniors on the team who live off campus.

“Our coach told the team after practice one day about the college’s new rule and he asked the seniors how many could put someone up for the night,” Martinson said. The seniors on the team were more than willing to take a teammate in, but as Martinson said, “It was annoying because there were so few of us that there would not have been trouble in the dorms.