Having issues with your roommate?

By Stephanie Lulay

Thirty percent of all cases handled last year alone by the Office of Student Conflict Resolution dealt with roommate conflicts.

However, a roommate that you don’t always agree with doesn’t have to be a horrible situation.

“About 2-3 percent of students end up switching roommates,” said D. Cole Spencer, assistant director of University Housing.

The Office of the Dean of Students’ Web site said that students are matched with a roommate based on when their contract is received, and the University tries to match students with the same class year and similar majors.

If your roommate is of a different background and hometown, it doesn’t mean you won’t get along. Respect is important in your relationship.

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In the beginning, it’s important to discuss your likes and dislikes to prevent problems further down the line. Minor concerns can become a major problem if not initially discussed.

“Communication is the key,” Spencer said. “Recognize that each of you is an individual, and that talking about an issue when it first arises is the easiest way to see each other’s point of view.”

Some issues you should discuss with your roommate include: study times, when you go to bed and get up, cleaning, friends visiting and borrowing each other’s things.

Spencer said that the most common conflicts between roommates come up over orderliness of the room and issues over two very different schedules.

He said he thinks both issues can be fixed if the roommates invest a little more time in communicating.

However, if you think you can’t fix the problem yourself with your roommate, you should go to your floor resident advisor.

“Your RA is your first and best resource,” Spencer said. “RAs have training and experience in building community and in-conflict resolution. Each hall also has a live-in Resident Director, another great resource for residents.”

If things aren’t working out, you may also consider meeting with the Office of Student Conflict Resolution. Staff can be reached at 333-3680, or by e-mail at [email protected].