Increase privacy in dorms


Renee Yu

Edited in Prisma app with Gothic

Amy DonJuan, Columnist

Residence halls are often seen as the best housing option because of the advantages they offer to students. For example, they allow residents to be more academically engaged because of proximity to resources. UT even encourages freshmen to consider living in University residence halls, but in order to even attract residents, all dorms must be up to par.

There are currently 15 residence halls on campus. The University claims to “provide clean, attractive, safe facilities for campus residents,” but curtains instead of doors for communal showers is neither attractive nor does it leave residents feeling safe.

The University needs to renovate residence hall dorms by changing communal showers curtains to doors to increase student privacy and comfort. 

The fact that some communal showers in residence halls have doors while others have curtains isn’t fair to students. Whether or not a communal shower has doors can also depend on the floor within a specific dorm. This inconsistency creates unequal standards of privacy. Some students are concerned with this lack of privacy, and if the situation does not improve, it could potentially turn away prospective on-campus residents. 

Business honors freshman Ramya Nambala said the University could be discouraging students from living in residence halls with the current setup of communal showers.

“(Communal) bathrooms and the lack of security within them makes people more hesitant to choose that dorm,” Nambala said.

Creating a safe and welcoming environment for all students should be a top priority for the University. Current dorm residents might not feel secure using communal showers, as students have cited a number of embarrassing occurrences in the past. 

“There’s one incident where I had the curtain closed and someone wanted to check and see if there was somebody in the shower I was in. The curtain was slightly open and that was really awkward. (Shower doors) would make things a lot more comfortable,” Nambala said.

As many as 70% of university students develop feelings of homesickness. It’s already hard enough for students to leave home in pursuit of their studies; it shouldn’t have to be uncomfortable too.

Don Ates, director of residential facilities for UT, said the budget constricts certain renovation projects but that the University has been looking at possible ways to increase privacy in dorms because of past student concerns. 

“Anytime we hear any concerns from students, we take them very seriously. … We always look for opportunities to renovate to try and meet student needs,” Ates said.

The best solution to address these student concerns is with shower doors. It should be a priority to make the residence halls feel as home-like and secure as possible, so students feel comfortable staying in dorms. 

In order to make residence halls more attractive and comfortable for students, the University should renovate dorms by changing communal showers to include doors. All students deserve the right to a safe, comfortable and private on-campus living experience. 

DonJuan is a Plan II and economics freshman from Quanah, TX.