Freshmen evicted from IBET lunch commons following trash complaints

Freshmen banned from eating lunch in IBET Commons


Shruthi Nyshadham

A mouse trap used by English teachers in the IBET commons to capture rodents coming for leftover food.

Last Friday, March 31, security officer Robert McCormick evicted the freshmen from their designated Turing Commons, commonly called the IBET (Integrated Biology, English, and Technology) Commons, over concerns regarding its cleanliness. Administrators had already warned freshman in the past that the commons should be properly cleaned after lunch.

Over the past few months, teachers and staff have been frustrated by some freshmen’s lack of responsibility in cleaning up after themselves.

“The big issue is respecting the place and the school,” IBET English teacher Stephanie Glotfelty said. “It’s beyond what the custodians are expected to do. It’s one thing to clean up after lunch, but it’s another thing to pick up spilled food and ketchup packets that have been stepped on.”

Some freshmen have theories about the final straw that ultimately triggered the ban; however, McCormick believes that no one incident, but rather a gradual build-up of complaints, ultimately led to the decision.

“We had received reports from teachers and administrators [in] that area [that] kids were being unruly and that every single day a large amount of food and garbage was being left on the floor, “ McCormick said. “So, Dr. Glazer, in a meeting with me, indicated that he wanted me to go down and tell them that it was unacceptable, and that if it continued that we should not permit students to eat in that area again for a period of time. After three consecutive days following [announcements to the students] .. it hadn’t improved at all.”

McCormick also indicated that the ban was temporary; after spring break, students will be permitted to eat in the commons. However, if the incident occurs again, there will be harsher repercussions. Teachers in the IBET Commons have recently been setting mice traps in their rooms to deal with rodent infestation from the leftover food, heightening the need for cleanliness.

“It’s difficult for people that have signed up to use the commons the class period after lunch,” Glotfelty said. “We had to ask for our students to go get wet paper towels so we could clean the tables.”

Given these circumstances, some students and teachers believe the eviction was justified.

“It lets people know that the administration is actually doing something,” Freshman Rishi Tadepalli said. “If they let it pass, more people would probably do the same thing.”

The commons has been open for almost half a year as a center of activity for the freshman class.

“Personally I like the fact that the freshmen have a safe place to eat,” IBET English teacher Natalie Lago said. “Not that the building isn’t safe, but it’s nice to have an area where the majority of people are in your class, especially for freshmen. But calling it your own doesn’t mean you have to throw food all over it.”

However, teachers remain optimistic that the freshmen will return to the commons with a fresh perspective.

“Hopefully students will say: ‘We don’t want to get kicked out again! That’s gross! Remember the mice? They’re going to come eat the Cheerios,’” Lago said.