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deaddolly's avatar

College roommate advice!

Asked by deaddolly (3388 points ) October 13th, 2008

scenario; private, liberal arts college in large city. 4 girls, with private bedrooms, 2 baths, common living room and kitchen area.
One girl caught by RA for having booze in the room. Penalty was no visitors in room for a week.
Same girl stashed alcohol bottless in common area in another girls ottoman, found by another roomie.
Girls had ‘talk’...rommie claimed would not happen again. Another roomie, while talking to “boozey roomie” saw more alcohol bottles in her room. Another ‘talk’. Girls feel one roomie, who is bothered by booze and doesn’t want to get in trouble because of ‘boozey’ is overracting. ‘Boozey’ claims she feels like roomie is her mother.
College has no tolerance policy. All girls are 18.

I’m the mom of the one they think is overracting. My first impulse is too bitch ‘boozey’ out and talk to her parents. Not saying that is the correct approach. What would you do? As a parent? As a college student?
If roomies are caught with alcohol in common area, all will be in trouble. Should the RA get involved?
Parent weekend is coming…my daughter doesn’t want to me to say anything, BUT I’M PISSED OFF!
This college is 29K per year…I know partying is part of the whole thing, but where is the line drawn? This ‘boozey’ roomie goes out and stays out all night and brags about getting into bars and getting sloppy drunk…grades are bad and family is well to do.
Anxious to hear opinions. I could care less what this girl does, but when it involves my kid, I get interested. But I don’t like snitches, either.

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27 Answers

shilolo's avatar

Maybe your daughter can quietly request a transfer to another room with a vacancy? Seeing as how school basically just started, she won’t have established herself too much, and it won’t be too much hassle to just leave. I know this feels like “giving in”, but, caught between not wanting to “snitch” (as you said) and not wanting to be too permissive, this might solve the problem without raising too many issues.

Another option really is to enlist the help of the RA. In all seriousness, that is what they are supposed to do. This RA could have a one-on-one chat with the boozey roommate and explain that moving forward, any alcohol found in her room (and in common areas) will be assumed to be hers, unless clearly proven otherwise. That way, she realizes that she will face the brunt of her actions, rather than shared guilt.

deaddolly's avatar

Thanks, Shilolo. A transfers an idea, but who’s to say she wouldn’t get worse? lol She loves her room layout and the private bedrooms are in high demand.

shilolo's avatar

True. Perhaps you can take a step back and look at the big picture. No college experience can be complete without squabbling roommates. This certainly strikes me as a “typical” scenario, though I’m surprised you didn’t mention fighting over bathroom time :-)

clairedete's avatar

The “boozey” girl might be my roomate. ha
I suggest you have your daughter talk to her RA. It would be completely confidential and wouldn’t necessarily be traced back to your daughter and even if it was she has every right to say something.
If the girl who is at fault for the booze in the room were just keeping it in her personal area that would be a different thing but since you said it has been found in common areas which all four girls are responsible for this could, in turn get them in trouble and is completely unacceptable.
I don’t suggest that you personally get involved because this could possibly have negative ramifications that would impact your daughter.
She has every right to be bothered by this behavior. These kind of situations are exactly what the RA’s are there for. It is their job to enforce rules about controlled substances and also to mediate roomate issues.

deaddolly's avatar

I know, it’s part of growing up. I just don’t want them all to get in trouble becaue of one stupid ditz.

deaddolly's avatar

Thanks, clairedete and welcome, btw!

I vote for the RA as well.

Nimis's avatar

I wouldn’t bother myself with what she chooses to keep in her room.
But stashing it in/on someone else’s property is another matter.

Darwin's avatar

Sounds like some roommates I had once upon a time. Their problem was marijuana, which they hid in my stuff just before inspection. I found it (fortunately) and stashed it in their suitcases where it was later found by their parents.

In hindsight, I should have gone to the RA. However, my parents lived in another country and weren’t there to back me up, so it would have become a she said-she said scenario. And these two roomies were very facile liars.

Since you are aware of the problem, I suggest you encourage your daughter to talk to the RA and be willing to back her up if the RA questions motives, etc.

Good luck! Roommates are supposed to argue over who ate the last cookie or bathroom time, not illegal activities that can get innocent folks supended or expelled.

marinelife's avatar

I want to add one more item to the sound advice to talk to the RA. Anyone who has booze bottles on a regular basis in their room has a drinking problem.

Good luck, DD. Tell your daughter to stick to her guns and to pre-empt this. She is not overreacting.

deaddolly's avatar

Yes, like i said, i could care less if she were to drink her college days away (she has parents), but I don’t want her interrupting my daughter’s life with this.
Thanks, everyone. I’m going to encourage her to talk to the RA as well.
As for parent weekend…I’ve been known to speak my mind…I hope her parents are there!

MarcIsMyHero's avatar

Dolly, I think it’s fine for you to talk about the options with your daughter. But you speaking your mind on her behalf might embarass her and cause further problems. Let your daughter work it out. She should speak to an RA. Their title is “Resident Advisor.” They are there to help and to advise, rather than play cop.

Part of the college experience is being thrust into living situations with people who aren’t your family or friends. The lessons she learns in dealing with her roomies are just as important as some of the lessons she will learn in classrooms.

deaddolly's avatar

Marcis; I know, I know…it’s gonna be difficult for me to keep quiet!!!

marinelife's avatar

@deaddolly But you are letting your fledgling fly so it is good to give her advice, but let her handle the flapping. You can restrain yourself!

deaddolly's avatar

@Marina; I know bites lip you just always want to help them tho!

I used to always keep quiet…not so much anymore. i will try to maintain control tho. Do dirty looks count?

marinelife's avatar

@dd Dirty looks are a mother’s prerogative. Also, easy for me to say, but if I was you, I would have to work very hard to bite my tongue too.

Perhaps something subtler? Have your daughter suss out the boozer’s current hiding place, and accidentally find it while showing the boozer’s parents around.

deaddolly's avatar

@marina; i will find a way to let things fly…lol

cyndyh's avatar

Dirty looks definitely do not count. :^>

augustlan's avatar

Good luck to your daughter and you, DD.

emilyrose's avatar

I think you should talk with someone at the school and get boozey kicked out and they get a new roommate. Boozey gets stuck in a shitty room as punishment. Everyone drinks in college but not everyone is a dumbass and gets caught all the time!

girlofscience's avatar

@Marina: I disagree that “anyone who has booze bottles in their room on a regular basis has a drinking problem,” when we’re talking about college girls here. Booze bottles in your room in college doesn’t carry nearly the same kind of implication of booze bottles in your room when out of college…

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

From one mom to another, the purpose of sending them away to school is so they can learn to manage their own lives. You have to step away and let your daughter take ownership of her living situation. The university has mechanisms in place to deal with the situation, and part of growing up is deciding when and how to activate the intervention. Eventually the roommates will get tired of getting into trouble because of Boozey and will rat her out to the RA. But your daughter has to own that decision.

My daughter is a freshman at college, and I pointed her in the direction of the university counseling services to talk out her adjustment issues with school, friend issues, dating problems, etc. This has turned out to be the best advice I could have given her.

deaddolly's avatar

Thanks to everyone for your insights and advice!

Emilyy's avatar

I was an RA in college (I know, I know), and when there were problems that an RA couldn’t handle, we had a supervisor—either a “Hall Coordinator” who is basically a senior who is in charge of the entire residence hall/dorm, or an “Area Coordinator” who was a hired professional who was in charge of a group of dorms. If this college campus is like mine (small, private, liberal arts), it should have something similar in place. Plus, if boozy roommate was already caught by the RA, any sort of write-up should have gone to someone higher up for review, so they should be well aware of the problem. If they’re not, then the “no tolerance” policy probably isn’t all that well-enforced.

I agree that your daughter should learn to handle these things on her own now that she’s an adult. However, if parent’s weekend is coming up, you could try to say something (in a sort of “off the record” sort of way) to someone above the RA, not to snitch, but just to alert them of the situation and the fact that your daughter is genuinely concerned about taking the fall for her boozy roommate. You’d have to be careful to avoid having this look like you are trying to meddle too much. I think it would be best if the supervisor didn’t even say anything about your meeting, just sort of logged it away for future reference. Then, if they find booze in the common area in the future, they’ll have your statement vouching for your daughter.

Another option is that your daughter could go and talk to the RA or supervisor herself to voice her concerns. Then, she wouldn’t be seen as a snitch, just someone who’s saying, “I see this problem, and it concerns me because I value my education and I don’t want to go down because boozy roommate stashes her booze in the common space, and also, I don’t want my roommate’s alcohol problem to go unnoticed.” Like I said, the RAs and their supervisors should already be aware of this.

Good luck!

deaddolly's avatar

@emily Thanks! I will do just that…talk to someone above the RA and just mention it causally. hehehe…I love being subversive.

Futomara's avatar

Sneak ipecac into the booze bottles. Problem solved.

spykenij's avatar

I would tell whoever is in charge. This is your financial business, an investment for both you and your daughter and your daughter’s education. Apparently, this girl has an alcohol problem or she is so immature booze will be the only thing in her life and you could possibly change the course “Boozy” is on by saying something. If nothing is done and it continues, I like the ipecac idea, but also don’t rule out lemon flavored magnesium citrate (aka the super colon blow shits in a bottle) that can be placed in a mixed drink ;)

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