Henle Village residents and the Georgetown University Student Association have raised concerns over university spending after residents were charged a total of $2,234.08 after four chairs in Henle Village common space were damaged by vandalism.
According to an email to Henle residents, each chair cost $558.52 with each individual resident being charged $5.28.
The chairs were purchased as part of a project to develop outdoor space at Pedro Arrupe, S.J. Hall.
Henle Community Director Jillian Sitjar notified students living in Henle Village in an email on Oct. 27 of the vandalism and theft.
“Recently, Henle Village received outdoor furniture consisting of 6 tables and 24 chairs. However, due to vandalism, 8 chairs have been damaged or removed from the courtyard over the course of the past three weeks,” Sitjar wrote.
Henle residents were notified Nov. 8 that four of the eight chairs were returned, but that they would be charged for the remaining four missing or damaged chairs.
Following the charge, a number of Henle residents voiced their concerns to the Office of Residential Living.
Henle Village Resident Michael Chapman (COL ’18), who wrote an email to the Office of Residential Living voicing his concerns, said he was concerned that Residential Living was charging students who were not involved in damaging or removing the chairs.
“I find it very unfair that they are charging students who may not have had any impact on the chairs being broken and may not have even used the chairs for something that could have been done by anybody on campus,” Chapman said.
GUSA Chief of Staff Ari Goldstein (COL ’18) said the costs of the seats raise concerns over how the university spends its money.
“I must have gotten 10 texts and emails from people who were living in Henle and they wanted GUSA to do something about this because it was such an obviously egregious example of misspending,” Goldstein said in an interview with The Hoya.
Goldstein said the charge points to a larger issue of university spending.
“I just don’t know what the industry standard is for chairs, but I think it fits into a pretty obvious pattern of misspending across the board,” Goldstein said.
Senior Director for Strategic Communications Rachel Pugh said the chairs were selected by a design committee for both their value and aesthetic.
“These chairs were selected by a design committee consisting of architects, students and university staff and through a furniture forum during the design process,” Pugh wrote in an email to The Hoya. “This selection represented the best overall value per the selection committee when considering durability, architectural characteristics, price and quality.”
Henle Village resident Bailey Page (MSB ’18) said she was concerned that students’ money was being spent on something students do not necessarily want or need, rather than renovating Henle.
“I think it’s kind of ridiculous that we didn’t ask for these chairs,” Page said.
Henle Village resident Matt Wang (MSB ’18) said the fact that non-Henle Village residents could have damaged or removed the chairs raises further concerns about the charge.
“We know this chair vandalism happened and there is no evidence to pointing towards who’s done them. It just remarks that anyone can come onto campus and do anything to the stuff we leave outside,” Wang said in an interview with The Hoya.
Wang said even if the vandalism was done by a Henle Village resident, the high charge of the chairs would still raise concerns.
“Well I feel that the vandalism was definitely something that needed to be asked about or taken care of,” Wang said. “If it was more about the cost of the chair rather than the actual incident, I would understand us having to pay for it but the fact that each chair cost $400, $500 is a bit ridiculous.”
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