Dear Ivy

Dear Ivy

Billy Ferguson/ Fourth Estate

This week, Ivy gives advice to someone dealing with a bad roommate


Dear Ivy,

My roommate is a freaking slob. He leaves USED toilet paper on the bathroom floor. He only showers three times a week. He even bangs random chicks while I’m in the room. I can’t take this s— anymore. SAVE ME!


Fed up


Dear Fed Up,

Everyone living on campus is expected basic rights, such as the right to a clean environment, reasonable quietness and privacy. If your roommate does not respect that, then there has been a disconnect on how to respectfully share a space with another person.

I would suggest setting a time where you can sit down with your roommate and have an honest conversation with them. You should try to talk to them yourself before you ask an RA to mediate. There is a guide for effective communication and conflict resolution with your roommate on Mason’s Housing Life website. Write down some of the things you would like to say to them before you speak, such as how treating your shared private space with disrespect makes you feel. Listen to them when they talk and see where they are coming from. Helping validate certain points they may say can diffuse some dissension. Positive feedback can help the other person know you really want the best for the both of you.

Everyone is coming from somewhere different in life. College can feel like the time to be carefree now that you are living apart from your parents. Roommates still need to keep in mind you live there too and that most of the decisions they make regarding the dorm impacts you as well. Understand that most disagreements can be solved by compromise. Don’t make this talk with them entirely one-sided and take in some of their ideas as well.

If, after sitting down with them, they continue to disrespect your half of the dorm, then this is time to bring in your RAs. They have been trained as mediators and should be able to guide the conversation and create a better living agreement between the two of you. RAs should be able to help create a more comfortable space for you to share your feelings with one another. I suggest using the living agreement sheets on the Mason Housing website to start the discussion, and you can even add some more of your concerns if they aren’t covered on the sheet.

If they still haven’t changed their ways after having a discussion, you will need to think about talking to your Resident Director (RD) about a room change. You RD should be listed on the  Mason Housing website. If you feel as this is a matter that will heavily impact your academic success, your feeling of safety and goes against your rights as an on-campus student, then they should be able to find you a much more suitable place to live.

I hope you will be able to come to a comfortable agreement with your roommate. But if not, I believe you’ll be much happier after being assigned a new room.