The door frame and lock of room 1310 in Serra Hall were covered with spackle early Saturday morning, leaving the resident students trapped inside the suite once they awoke.
According to Director of Housing and Residence Life, Tara Hart, HRL received an incident report from the Resident Assistants on duty, who discovered the spackled door. Once HRL received the report, they contacted Public Safety and Security as part of their protocol.
HRL is able to contact the facilities staff through Public Safety 24 hours a day for any situation which presents a safety threat, Hart said.
Ross Gardner, who lives in the suite, said the roommates were woken up by their RA, Jen Zmirski, knocking on the door at around 10:15 a.m.
Gardner said roommate Nick Cahill busted the door open by running full force to get them out of the suite.
“I busted the door open from the inside by throwing my shoulder into it,” Cahill said.
Dave Pasquarella, who also lives in the suite, woke up Saturday morning to use the bathroom and saw some of his roommates in the hallway within their suite trying to open the door.
“The spackle had dried and basically sealed the openings in the door.” Pasquarella said.
Roommate Josh Posdon was in the shower when Zmirski knocked on their door. Once he got out of the shower, the roommates told him what happened.
The roommates also said Zmirski informed them to leave their door bolted open so the spackle would not harden and seal the door shut again.
“It took a few hours for anybody to come to start to clean the door off,” Posdon said. “And it took a few days to actually get most of the spackle off the door and door frame.”
Since this happened while they were all sleeping, the cleanup of the door probably took about a few hours, Cahill said.
According to Hart, the Facilities Engineering staff was on site that Friday to fix a hole that someone had made in one of the stairwells, and she assumes the spackle was left following this repair.
Facilities Engineering is still investigating why the plaster was left unattended.
“I think most of us in the suite are genuinely upset about the situation, and that someone would want to do something like that to myself and my suitemates,” Gardner said.
Posdon said they were all confused as to why anyone would spackle a door shut or who would even do it.
Hart said residents reported hearing noise in the early morning hours but did not report it.
Hart did not say whether they had identified the persons involved with the incident.
Nicole Bitette can be reached at email@example.com.