Ask Charlotte Answers 11/10/06

Question: "This is a question posed to you by a majority of upperclassmen (seniors and some juniors). We have been unable to register or get in to certain classes we need in order to graduate because places are being held open for honors upperclassmen. While we are sure these students are very bright and entitled to more challenging work, we feel that it is incredibly illogical that we should have to beg and plead and cajole our professors into letting us in to a class when we're very close to graduation. We are seniors; obviously we have taken our work seriously in order to get this far. An honors freshman really shouldn't trump a rising senior. We pay to go here too. Has it always been this way, or has there been an influx of this lately?"

Answer: We never had this problem back in the 1800s. Seats have been reserved in 100 and 200 level courses for freshmen and sophomores. That Honors students (who may be lower classmen) may sign up for classes along with seniors in the first few days of pre-registration makes it seem as though they are taking seats that should be available to seniors. If you are a senior or junior and this happens to you, I suggest that you contact the instructor, who can use that newfangled WebAdvisor  program to see whether students on the roster include lower classmen. If so, the instructor will most likely sign you into this course. Yes, this is a bit of a hassle, but it is necessary to keep seats in those courses available for freshmen and sophomores, who are not qualified to take 300 and 400 level courses offered for upperclassmen.

Question: "What exactly does the dining Commons and Table Rock recycle? I have seen them throwing out non-food items they could recycle."

Answer: The Commons is currently working  with Dr. Patrick Drohan and the Sustainability Committee to come up with a workable system to recycle more non-food items. It is high on their priority list. Currently, food items left over are being bagged and frozen for the Food2Share program to distribute to local meal sites.

Question: "Why does catering keep using disposable products when we have a perfectly good dishwasher the same company (Aramark) uses in the dining hall?"

Answer: ARAMARK Catering uses disposable products for a number of reasons, and unfortunately theft is one of the big reasons. Each year hundreds of dollars are spent replacing equipment that goes missing. If you do see equipment lying around, please return it to the Commons or call the Catering Office at extension 4334. Another reason is the volume of catering that goes on, particularly during peak weeks, during which the Catering department would not possibly be able to accommodate every event with china and flatware.  A further reason is the cost incurred, which is ultimately passed on to the consumer, for having to transport, oversee, store, and replace china. Unfortunately, disposable wares are the most practical way to go for many events, but with further work on the campus recycling program and research into more "environmentally friendly" wares, they hope to minimize the amount of stuff sent to the landfills.

Question: "Why does Hartwick's Commons smell so bad that it sticks to our clothes and no matter how much you try to get rid of it, you just can't? Also, why is no one fixing or even trying to fix the Commons smell? We should get more vents or something because I don't think it's normal for any college commons to have such a strong nasty smell because it doesn't even smell like food. It's a dirty smell that sticks to your clothes. It's so bad that you smell it from the outside going into the Commons."

Answer: Sorry that the smell is bothering you!  Some people comment that they like it! For investments in facilities improvements (vents, fans, etc.), I recommend you go to your student senators to lobby for your wishes. Good luck and hold your nose!

Question: "Why doesn't the kitchen staff EVER wear gloves? We don't know where their hands have been or what they touched. Also, for OUR health they should wear them and MOST IMPORTANT it's REQUIRED for any food service to WEAR GLOVES! Lastly, why are the kitchen utensils ALWAYS dirty? Everyday I see kids looking for clean utensils...we should not have to look for them. They should just be clean!"

Answer: The kitchen staff in the Commons is required by law to wear food-handler gloves when handling any product that is going directly to the customer's plate with no further cooking. Preparation of food that is to be cooked does not require the use of gloves, although most of the production staff prefers to wear them when working with messy ingredients. If you do see a food service worker not wearing gloves when handling food that will not be further cooked, please see the manager in charge. Your health is their priority too. In an effort to be environmentally conscious, the Commons recently switched to using eco-friendly detergents. They are continually striving to make sure that the service ware is clean.

Question: "I live at Holmes and our bathrooms are never clean. They always smell. I don't even think we have janitors! Our carpets are filthy! We live in a hazard. We shouldn't have to live in a dirty place if we pay 40K for tuition. So, can you tell me why no one is doing their job of keeping our building clean?! Cause if they aren't then I think our tuition needs to go down because we are paying a lot of money for crap service!"

Answer: You should not feel that your home is not clean. There are several steps you need to take to solve this problem.

1.  Speak with your floor and RA and RD. Is there something students can do together to improve the building?

2.  Fill out a work order to have carpets cleaned and "dirty" areas picked up.

3.  Send your concerns of people not doing their job to your Student Senate Representatives. Student Senate meets with the President monthly to discuss these types of issues and then some. Good luck!

Question: "How do you tell your roommate they have a hygiene problem without hurting their feelings? It started to bother me and I need a safe way to approach the situation."

Answer: Confronting your roommate on a personal hygiene problem is certainly an uncomfortable conversation to have, but being aware of the type of relationship you have with your roommate can help you decide the best way to approach him or her about it. If you are friendly with your roommate, I would suggest talking to them directly about what you see going on, whether it be them not showering very often or not doing their laundry, and finding out from them what is going on that is causing them to neglect their personal hygiene.  Your roommate might not know there is a problem and might welcome you telling them because you are concerned and care about them, or they might be aware of their problem and have an explanation about what is going on (i.e. medical issues, allergies, etc.). If you and your roommate simply share a room and are not on friendly terms, I suggest getting an RA or RD involved to help you approach them about the problem. Be sensitive about the issue, however, and don't talk to other people about the problem or confront the person as a group; that would be a humiliating experience for anyone and that is hopefully not your goal.

Question: "Dear Charlotte, Twice now I have been asked questions concerning things in my room based on people who represent authority in the dormitories (i.e. RD and RA). They apparently peer into my room through the window, which happens to be on the first floor. I feel this is an invasion of privacy. I feel uncomfortable that they will be peering into my room constantly without my knowing. Are they watching me change, watching me entertain "guests," or just doing my homework.  Are they allowed to penalize me for bottles of wine being present in my room either full or empty being that my roommate is of legal drinking age? His presence should negate the fact that wine is in my room with or without him. If he has a few drinks of wine and goes out to the bars leaving me in the room not of age I should not be liable for this reason. I believe the residential staff on campus needs to stop looking into the rooms of students due to the fact that is is highly inappropriate. Privacy is a big issue with women as well as males. I believe something should be done to prevent this from happening."

Answer: I'm sorry that you feel your privacy has been invaded. The Residential Life staff needs to confront alleged policy violations relating to alcohol. Having empty alcohol containers in a room is against policy unless the students is above 21 living in Wilder, Leitzell, or the Townhouses. Unfortunately, when one roommate is of age and the other roommate is not, it poses some "gray" area until further investigated. The staff will investigate and hold students accountable accordingly.

It is not the goal of the Residential Life staff to disrupt the privacy of residential students. If you feel that your privacy is being violated, please contact Graig Eichler, Director of Residential Life. He will be able to discuss this matter with you.

Question: "Why does Dick, the President of the College, never say hey to minorities, is he racist? I was walking down the stairs of Bresee with my minority friend and he only said hello to me and not her. He looked at me and said hello with a smile and didn't really even acknowledge her presence. Therefore, I think that was wrong of him to do that because he should acknowledge all of us as one."

Answer: I am sorry that you and your friend were offended by President Miller.  I know that the President has a great commitment to issues related to minority students, faculty, and staff. I suspect that it was some form of misunderstanding. I recommend that you set up a time to meet with him in person with your friend to share a conversation about anything. In that discussion, perhaps you will feel differently about his character.

Question: "I've been hearing about this artwork being sold and I have a few questions about it; how much are getting from it? Is it true that they were donated under the agreement that they not be sold? And if that is true, doesn't it reduce the attractiveness of donating to a school that doesn't keep its agreements, potentially hurting Hartwick in the long term?"

Answer: No final decision has been made on the possible sale of any individual piece of art. The College is having the value of those items that might legally be de-accessioned appraised and is working with Sotheby's, who has a specific division that assists colleges, galleries, and museums in the disposition of art. Once the appraisal is complete and plans for the future of the Museum have been developed, a decision will be made on de-accessioning. The College will honor the specific terms of any gifts that have been accepted. The proceeds of any sale of art will be used for the care, preservation, and continued programming of the remaining collection to assure that it is available for the enjoyment of the College community and general public. If you have any additional questions then I suggest you schedule a meeting with Vice President and Provost John Anderson to discuss this further.

Question: "Please answer the question about selling the fine art collection and Pine Lake upper tract. Comments about Golisano Hall, etc. are welcome, but not to the point."

Answer: This question is similar to a question/answer that I posted last week. In regard to Yager and the fine art collection I will direct you to a similar question I answered above. In regard to Pine Lake, please refer to a recent interview with the Director of Pine Lake, Dr. Patrick Drohan (, otherwise I suggest you schedule a meeting with Vice President and Provost John Anderson to discuss this further.

Question: "Not a good answer, Charlotte. You are simply passing the buck for a lack of institutional support for students residing at Pine Lake rather than on campus. A daily van shuttle for Pine Lake is not the same category as the use of other college vehicles for destinations arrived at by choice. A van ought to be available at no charge, no matter what (broken down or not) so students residing at Pine Lake (an extension of the Hartwick campus) may access campus classroom buildings for classes on a daily basis at no charge. This not a choice; attending classes is why they are here. It is too far to walk, unlike the proximity of on-campus residence halls for walking to classes."

Answer: Living at Pine Lake is a great choice, however, facilities vehicles are "rented" by every department on campus including Pine Lake, such as Admissions for disabled families, the Alumni office for the elderly, Athletics for College-sponsored participation, Awakening, and academic field trips. I suggest that if transportation is a requirement for all Pine Lake residents, that you ask for the cost to be incurred by room fees, which is currently the same as on the main campus. Or, ask Student Senate for Pine Lake fee support.

Question: "What does our money go towards?!"

Answer: Your costs go toward the operational budget of the College. Student payments only represent about 80% of the costs of providing your education.  The rest comes from the generosity of others, both currently and in the past.  The operation budget includes:

Instruction--the biggest expense--faculty salaries to provide the small classes, class and lab materials


Student Recruiting

Financial Aid


Student Life

Facilities costs including heat, light, repairs, and maintenance

Improvements to facilities

Administrative costs like the administrative offices, insurance, technology, and fundraising to help obtain the other 20%

I'm sure I'm missing something, but this is the "short list." Hope that helps!

Question: "I know there are buses running downtown and to Southside on Fridays and weekends, but does OPT stop by the campus during the week? If so, where? Also what/where is Clinton Plaza? Lastly, what are the best and easiest ways to get to the bus station, and what is the most reliable taxi to call?"

Answer: Okay, let me answer these questions one at a time! The only weekday that OPT stops on campus is on Thursdays between 6 p.m. and 1 a.m. at the same pickup locations as on the weekend (the lower Yager lot and Arnold parking lot). It stops at the Southside Mall and at the Clinton Plaza on Main Street (this is the plaza where Domino's is located--and where all of the OPT buses are lined up!). I never used any of Oneonta's taxi services, but either A&D Taxi or ACE Taxi seem to be fine to use. You can use your WICKit card with ACE Taxi.

Question: "Charlotte, why aren't you on Facebook? I want to friend you!"

Answer: Well, it took me some time to figure out what Facebook is! All of this is new to me! Now that I know what it is, I am working on it and I will let you know when my page is ready! I'm very excited about it, and I can't wait to "friend" all of you!

Question: "Charlotte, people often complain about the massive amounts of ZHD mail they get in their inbox. Personally I don't mind, as it is not as bad as it was a few years ago, but what does get my goat is when people don't follow the ZHD rules. In particular, every message sent to a ZHD e-mail should have the words "SYSTEM DLM" in the subject line ( On average, one out of every four DLM messages received in my inbox has the words "System DLM" in it. It is quite annoying when some follow the rules and others don't. Could someone please either revise that guideline or enforce it?"

Answer: Good point! If you are sending a system distribution list message, please take a moment to visit the Web page that is referenced in the question above to check the guidelines that apply when sending a system DLM.

Question: "Why, when we are paying almost 40K a year to go to Hartwick, do students have to pay 15 cents a page to use the copy machines? We can print as much as we would like, but not copy?  Wouldn't 5 cents be more reasonable?"

Answer: If you are talking about the copy machines in the library, they need to pay for all toner and maintenance of those copy machines out of their operating budget. If you need to make copies, you should use the Copy Center that is located in the basement of Arnold. They charge 3 cents per printed side.

Question: "When might we expect a current phone directory?" "When are the campus directory booklets coming out? Weren't they supposed to come out in October??" "When will we be getting the school directories?"

Answer: The Copy Center is working on copying the directory now. They expect to have them done and will begin to put them in student mailboxes next Tuesday. If you don't receive one by the end of next week, you should contact Fran Borrego at  If for some reason you receive one with someone else's name on it, please return it to the mailroom.  Sorry for the delay, and thank you for your patience! In the meantime, you can always use the online directory on the Hartwick Web page, which is located under "Phone Info." Here is the link

Question: "Okay, so I'm a music major and I have to see 15 concerts by the end of the semester. If I don't I'll receive an incomplete for my major ensemble. What do I do if I can't see all these concerts by the end of the semester?"

Answer: This seems like a reasonable requirement for a music major. The music department is always having concerts and guest performers. There are lots of concerts that happen in the Oneonta community that would probably satisfy this requirement too. If there is a reason that is preventing you from attending these concerts, I suggest you speak with your professor.

Question: "I am 19 years old and I was trying to have a nice night out in town. Every bar and restaurant rejected me because I was under 21.  What is there to do for us 'youngings?'"

Answer: The Autumn Cafe, located on Main St., does have live music on most weekends. Some nights are for people 21 & up, but other nights under 21 are welcome! Here is their Web page: It has a calendar of events of what is going on and it lists whether or not you have to be 21 to attend. Don't forget to check Hartwick Happenings for activities that are happening on campus.