“Body waste” was discovered in the Larned 5th floor men’s bathroom showers and the wall of the 5th floor stairwell on Friday, Oct. 14, according to a community alert posted by Residence Life.
Additionally, a shower in Horace Mann was smeared with “body waste” as well on Sunday, Sept. 18.
Glenn Cochran, associate dean of students and director of residence life, said, “One of the things I get concerned about is I don’t want someone not to report it and have something be like, ‘There were feces someplace,’ but you also don’t want to make something sound more dramatic than it is, either.
“It’s a tough balancing act. That’s why I’m trying to get the RDs to photograph and get more information because it’s hard to get at after the fact.”
Austin Gaudreau, a Larned resident, said, “I woke up for my 11:30 one day, went to go take a shower, and there was s–t in four out of the five showers. But supposedly it wasn’t there at 10:30. So someone must have just did it. It was pretty disgusting to be honest.
“I went in, saw it, went back in my room, then went to class. When I got back from class my RA had already seen it and I was telling all my friends about it so they were going to see it. I think I was one of the first to see it.”
Tyler Taccini, a junior and resident of Larned, said, “I got back from class and my roommate told me to go look at the showers.”
Taccini added he hasn’t seen anything similar in the three years he has been at FSU.
According to Cochran, similar incidents are not “common” but not “unprecedented,” either.
“It’s not unusual for there to be a couple incidents reported in the course of an academic year when you have a couple thousand people living nearby with thousands more guests that come and go,” said Cochran.
Warren Fairbanks, associate vice president of facilities and capital planning, said incidents that require extra cleanup “happen more often than you think.”
Cochran said staff have no way to determine what an unidentified substance is.
“For sanitation purposes, staff don’t want to rule out what it might be that they’re finding,” said Cochran. “You don’t know if it’s a dropped McDonald’s cup or something more serious.”
Gaudreau said, “The sh–t was in the showers for about two or three hours and then the cleaning ladies came in.”
According to Fairbanks, maintenance waits for a determination that the damage is not a hate crime, tagging or another actionable offense before cleaning the scene.
Custodians are trained and follow protocols to prevent infection of themselves or others in a situation that could involve human waste, added Fairbanks.
Taccini said he has used the showers on his floor since the incident but “even after being bleached it was and still is there for me.”
“There can be different reasons why something like this happens,” said Cochran, adding incidents involving body waste typically happen in the bathrooms.
Residence Life assesses the situation for counseling concerns, illness, if something was done in a black-out state or as an act of vandalism, said Cochran.
“Something found six feet off the ground might not be accident or illness. Something on the floor of a shower or next to a toilet might be a different story,” he added.
The maintainer who cleaned the stairwell said she did not think it was fecal matter in that instance, said Cochran.
He said Residence Life is “keeping our eyes open” for any pattern of large messes.
“We have a reporting system that people enter incident reports electronically that get reviewed by the director of the building,” said Cochran.
During off hours the resident director on duty is notified and will investigate, he added.
“Since we’ve had a couple now, I’ve directed them to respond to the area, photograph the area and take a little more record just in case other things come up,” said Cochran.
A few days after the incidents, notices went out to the community and were placed in residence halls so Residence Life can “work with the community,” said Cochran. No one has come forward claiming responsibility yet “but sometimes it takes a while.”
The charges for cleaning are covered by community billing and are typically $50-$100 in total for that sort of incident, said Cochran. There is no final cost estimate from facilities yet for either the Horace Mann or Larned incidents.
“I talked to my RA and he said it would be a couple dollars. Nothing big,” said Taccini. “Which is idiotic that I get fined for immaturity.”
Freshman Orlando Osorio said, “I think it’s fair. It spreads the word that people should clean up after themselves.”
Freshman Bilan Osman said, “I think it’s irresponsible to fine everyone – not everyone has the same financial situation or stability. The university should have funds set aside for this.”
The cost is covered by normal maintenance expense accounts, said Fairbanks.
Cochran said the person responsible would take on the full fee if they came forward or were found.
“That would be a fair and reasonable thing for the person who came forward to take responsibility for their actions so the community is not paying for it,” he added.
Residence Life handles small cost-item incidents within the residence halls although, all acts of vandalism are reported, said Cochran. FSUPD is typically not involved, and Residence Life would file a student conduct complaint.
Cochran said residents “are actually pretty good” at taking care of their living space. Most cleaning costs are from “careless things” such as a spill in a stove, messy counters or people putting their feet or hot coffee on tables.
“I think one of the reasons we have a good community culture is that we don’t let things build up until they’re really bad,” said Cochran.
“It’s typically not RAs or RDs who help create that culture – it’s our average residents that talk to one another and say ,‘This is stupid – why did they ruin our whatever’ and that’s what makes the impact,” he added.
“We really appreciate the way the community really does look out for issues and potential vandalism or signs of problems that someone might be having,” said Cochran.
“There is no ‘feces vandal’ running around campus,” he added.