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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, June 24, 2024

Bags of excrement found outside Sophia Gordon

Custodians at Sophia Gordon Hall have reported finding "plastic bags filled with excrement by the West side elevator on the first floor," according to an e-mail that the Office of Residential Life and Learning sent to residents on Tuesday.

The e-mail stated that this had occurred five times in the last week. "It is currently unknown whether the substance is animal or human," it read. "Regardless these actions are completely unacceptable and present a serious health hazard to students, staff, and guests. Additionally, these actions are a poor reflection of our residential community."

Senior and Sophia Gordon resident Ted McMahan said he came across one of the bags. Although he has not "examined it too closely," he described the bag as a "medium-filled trash bag that smells of bathroom."

He added, "It's really gross ... It smells awful."

While the e-mail from ResLife said that five bags of feces had been left over the course of the week, McMahan estimated that closer to twice that had been left over the past two weeks.

And the e-mail did not dissuade someone from leaving a new bag yesterday afternoon. "It's been every day for over a week," McMahan said. "The resident director said it's happened every day for a week. It's happened probably eleven times."

ResLife sent out the e-mail immediately after receiving notification of the incidents from OneSource Services, Inc., Tufts' janitorial service. ResLife is still in the beginning stages of its investigation, according to a Keiko Zoll, assistant coordinator of residential halls.

"At this time, we have no information regarding any person(s) responsible," she said in an e-mail to the Daily.

In its e-mail to residents, ResLife warned students that it will be monitoring activity in the building and, once the office determines who is responsible, will hold them "accountable to the university judicial process."

They also promised room inspections. "Please also be aware that Health and Safety Inspections will be occurring over the next several weeks within Sophia Gordon, and that Residential Staff will be entering your room at any time (specific dates and times will be posted throughout the hall)," the e-mail read. "In light of this information regarding a clear violation of health and safety standards in the building, you can expect these upcoming inspections to be thorough."

Senior Kevin Conroy, who lives in Sofia Gordon and was not aware of the incidents until he received the e-mail, said he is skeptical that the perpetrator would keep the bags in his or her room. "It seems kind of pointless to me because I don't know what they're looking for," he said.

McMahan speculated that the guilty party does not live in the dorm, meaning the inspections would be futile. "Somebody has just been, like, coming in and dropping if off early in the morning before anybody wakes up," he said.

ResLife is reaching out to students for help. "We have very few details at this time and we encourage anyone with information to contact the Office of Residential Life and Learning as soon as possible," Zoll said.

The Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) has not been involved, but is aware of the situation. "It initially came to my attention on Tuesday," TUPD Captain Mark Keith said.

But Keith does not anticipate that TUPD will be involved if the culprit is caught. "We have to see if any laws are broken," he said. "I would think it would be more of a Residential Life issue to deal with."

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