The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

Window wars: The controversy surrounding dorm window displays

Alex Strand
Sticky notes spelling out “Ballz” displayed in a CCRH window.

With the fall semester underway, residence halls are springing back to life as students create their own sense of home away from home. 

Decorating floor-to-ceiling, some on-campus residents are leaving no surface uncovered, and that includes their windows. 

Many students are turning to dorm windows as a medium for their artistic endeavors, to display personal belongings or to communicate written messages, said junior Max Stieglitz, a marketing and communications associate with UVM’s Residential Life office.  

“[Reslife’s Goal is] trying to encourage students to customize and individualize their rooms and putting Post-it notes on the windows like that is the perfect way to do it,” said Stieglitz.

The popularity of Post-it note window decor has even influenced ResLife to consider ordering Post-it notes to distribute to first-years, encouraging window decoration, said Stieglitz. 

But with their growing popularity, window decorations have attracted some controversy.

Upon arriving at UVM this year, first-year Ashleigh Jascowski thought of the perfect message that she wanted to display in her dorm window: “cock.” 

“People would be talking about our window and how it’s awesome,” said Jascowski.

Her dorm room even earned itself a nickname amongst other students: “Cock Palace.”

But Jascowski’s window expression was short-lived. Soon after she decorated her window, she received a message from her RA advising her to remove the Post-it notes, citing the Housing and Meal Contract Terms and Conditions manual as reason for removal, said Jascowski. 

“We had to take [“cock”] down or else we would get an official citation,” said Jascowski, a resident on Trinity Campus.

Alex Strand

Jascowski was not the only UVM student this year caught in a window-related controversy. Ryan Dalton, Liam Stasson and Jonathan Freed, first-year residents of Living/Learning were also asked to remove their message, said Dalton. 

After seeing similar messages when they toured UVM last spring, Dalton, Stasson and Freed decided to display the message “I Heart MILFs” in the window of their dorm. After just one week, they were asked to take it down with their RA also citing the TAC manual, they said.

“We never got any complaints about it,” said Dalton. “People were upset when we took it down.”

Before displaying their message, the suitemates had asked their RA if it was against any rules for them to put up their display and were told that, as long as there weren’t any explicit swear words used, they could display it, said Dalton. 

To complicate matters more, “I Heart MILFs” was ordered down but, within the same building, the message “I Heart Butts” is still being displayed, said Freed.

Students may not place any outward facing displays in room windows according to rule 19, section H of the TAC for the 2023-2024 school year. Under this rule, Post-it notes and all other window displays are completely prohibited and can result in an official citation. 

“I think that’s a gray area,” said Stieglitz. “There’s a lot of misapplication of the rule.”

Alex Strand

Jascowski believes that it was not the act of displaying Post-it notes that garnered her a warning, but it was instead the message being displayed, she said.

“I wish there was a hard line,” said Stieglitz. “I wish it was like ‘you’re allowed to [have sticky notes] but here’s the specific things.’ We might be changing that in the future.”

As of right now, both messages—“I Heart MILFs” and “cock”—are still not up but Dalton, Stasson and Freed are hopeful that their message may be able to make a return, they said. 

They’d like to put it back up if possible, said Stasson but, until they receive explicit permission from ResLife and their RA, their window will remain bare. 

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