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Rocky closes kitchen, pool room after recurring vandalism, mess

Aspiring chefs and future billiards champions currently residing in Rocky are out of luck.

Rockefeller College staff decided Monday to close the Holder Hall pool room and the Witherspoon kitchen due to recurring vandalism and excessive mess.

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The two facilities will probably remain closed for the rest of the academic year, college administrator Pat Heslin said.

The decision to close the Holder pool room occurred after the ceiling was damaged for the fourth time this year, Heslin said. Vandals had apparently used cue sticks to poke holes in the tiles, virtually destroying the ceiling and necessitating repairs by the University.

'Last resort'

"It's always a last resort when we decide to close a facility," Heslin said.

Though the identity of the perpetrators remains unknown, Heslin said she felt the abuse occurred at the hands of students after weekend partying, rather than by outsiders.

Because the pool room and television room in Holder are connected, the latter facility will also be closed to student use. Therefore, students will lose the use of a soda machine and microwave located in the pool room.

Holder resident Jason Biros '01 said he felt the action was an appropriate response to the abuse. "If we couldn't handle the responsibility of a pool table and a microwave, then how can we complain that they're closing (the room) down?" he said.

Witherspoon kitchen

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The college staff closed the Witherspoon kitchen because students have repeatedly left food and dirty dishes in the area, despite posted warnings.

Heslin said the mess constitutes a violation of the health code.

In order to allow students limited access to the kitchen, resident advisers in Witherspoon will hold keys to the kitchen, Heslin added.

Closing the Witherspoon kitchen will also limit student access to a soda machine. "My source of caffeine has been taken away from me," Witherspoon resident Sas Silver '00 said.

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Witherspoon RA Jamie Morano '98 said she felt a small minority of students was misusing the facility at the majority's expense.

According to Heslin, both common rooms were closed during reading period last year for similar reasons. Though Rocky seems to have an "ongoing" problem, other residential colleges avoid these issues by stationing guards or restricting the hours of operation of common spaces.

Repairs to dormitory common areas are sometimes financed by the University and sometimes assessed to the individual college, Heslin said.