When I left for college, I wasn’t worried about not finding my classes or being away from home. The part I was nervous about was sharing a room with a stranger. Every college student goes through the process of finding their roommate’s name then Facebook stalking them. Then, they message them and figure out who has the fridge or TV. But you learn more from meeting people and getting to know them in person. Someone is not going to tell you over Facebook they are thinking about bringing their samurai sword to college. (Yeah, true story.)
When I moved on to campus, there was a shortage in housing, and I was housed in the IFA suite at the University of Vermont, which is the integrated fine arts program. A suite is two double rooms and two singles consisting of three boys and three girls. I moved into my room in the morning, and I did not meet my roommate, Kate, until later that evening. Kate was about my height and weight and wore dark black makeup. I said two words to Kate, then I met her boyfriend, who said, “Hi, I’m Roy. You’re going to be seeing a lot of me.”
I’m 18, five hours away from home, and a 6-foot-tall older man just said I’ll be seeing a lot of him. Sweet. We had a short meeting with my RA introducing everyone and doing mini awkward ice breakers. I look around the room, and my roommate is nowhere to be found. Later, I go back to my room and I start talking to my roommate. It turns out that Roy is 25, and she is only 17. In Massachusetts, that would be statutory rape, but in Vermont, completely legal.
At UVM and probably many campuses, there is the first weekend where it is a just freshman, and they have a couple activities for them. When we were waiting in line after only knowing each other for an hour or two, Kate says, “Don’t worry, we won’t fuck in front of you or anything.” During the first week of college, this topic came up a lot, and people said it becomes normal to have sex when your roommate is still in the room. No way in hell is that ever ok!
The First Month
For the first couple of weeks, everything was ok. There were just the little things that every roommate relationship goes through. For example, I have extreme insomnia, and I get most of my sleep in the morning after 3 am. She would set her alarm to play Jack Johnson at 5 am and hit snooze for a couple hours. Let’s just say I can never listen to “Banana Pancakes” again. Her boyfriend was living with his ex-girlfriend who was a drug addict. I would see them around campus, but on weekends, they would sleep at his place that he shared with his ex-girlfriend.
As it turns out, he was not paying rent on his apartment, and at the end of September, he had no place to live. Every student is required to make a roommate agreement, and according to our agreement, we could have four nights a month that someone gets “Sexiled” from their room and with a good amount of notice. Kate broke that agreement in one week. It eventually came to the point where he was sleeping there every night. One night, one of the guys banged on the door because he was passed out drunk on a Tuesday at 10 pm to wake them up. When I got out of the shower and went into my room to change, Roy would still not get out of my roommate’s bed so I could change. At this point, it became uncomfortable for me to be in my own room. I felt like I was intruding on their life. My room that I was paying thousands of dollars became theirs.
Then came parents’ weekend. A little background on my family: I’m the youngest of two boys, so my parents are a kind of protective of me. When they got there, I packed a bag and left my room. According to my dad, I made a mistake by telling Kate and Roy that my parents were coming and I would probably stay with them because they took over my room. When I came back that weekend to my room, it smelled like cigarettes and whiskey.
When my parents met the man that I had been telling them had been living in my room, they could not believe that my RA had done nothing to help me resolve this problem. He was 25 years old, not a UVM student, and had creepy blue hair. That weekend, he got drunk and ran around campus naked. A few weeks earlier, I had walked up to my RA’s room and told her about the random, creepy guys my roommate was bringing to my room, and all she did was walk downstairs and ask the people in my suite about the “homeless man” my roommate brought home that month.
The worst thing about the situation was that I had no one to support me when I was at school. I was living with four other people who saw no problem with him being there so much. The reason being was it didn’t affect them the same way it affected me. They were never half naked and he wouldn’t get his 25-year-old passed out self out of his freshman girlfriend’s bed. Also, he’s over 21, so put two and two together.
When my parents got to Burlington on Friday, the first thing they did was call the director of my building who is supposed to help the residents in this situation. No answer all weekend. I also contacted my RA, but she was away all weekend, too, and couldn’t do anything to help the situation. While I was walking back to my class at 11:30 in the morning, I had no idea what to do. A 25-year-old man with no house or job was living in my tiny dorm room. I contacted the head of housing, and an hour later, I had a new room, and I moved out the next day.
I moved out of my room in the middle of October, and the month later, the situation was still the same. When I moved out, Kate’s boyfriend stayed in the dorm every night, and a little over a month later, she got a new roommate. After winter break, he got a job and started sleeping on a porch. Today was the last day of classes, and he got fired from his job and is currently sitting on the floor in my old common room playing Pokemon.