david heti - thoughts

David Heti - thoughts

actual angry or indignant email series, part one

Dear Ms. D,

I am a student at the Faculty of Law, about to enter my second year of the B.C.L./LL.B. program. Ms. Q suggested I contact you regarding a concern of mine.

On July 12th, during the Student Affairs Office's clean-up of the basement lockers, a number of my belongings were taken from my locker and thrown out. Ms. Q has said that for the purposes of the cleaning, the locker had been deemed abandoned, and she accordingly discarded of its contents. However, I feel that as the SAO ought to have known that the locker was mine, the locker was incorrectly deemed abandoned, and hence my things were wrongly thrown out.

As in accordance with the SAO's own regulations, I registered my locker with the office at the beginning of May, in order to have its use throughout the summer. I was told that while the SAO prefers students to register for lockers in one area of the basement, it was perfectly fine for me to take the locker I did.

For the first month and a half of summer, I used the locker to store only my own belongings. Sometimes I would lock the locker and sometimes I would leave the locker unlocked. After feeling as though the locker's contents were sufficiently safe, I began storing University library books there as well, which I had taken out under a card issued to me under Professor T's name, as I am currently working as her research assistant. On the day the locker was cleaned out, it contained (to the best of my recollection) a towel, t-shirt, shoulder-bag, at least three DVDs, and approximately twenty library books. 

The reason I was given for why my locker was deemed abandoned was because there was no lock on it. (It was also suggested that a pink sticky-note ought to have been there as well, but I'm a little unclear on this, as well as uncertain as to how a student is supposed to be able to ensure that a sticky-note on the outside of a locker is not disrupted.) However, I strongly feel that this is no justification for throwing out the contents of the locker, as I was told that I would be given the use of a locker so long as I simply registered it with the SAO. I was never told that either leaving a locker unlocked would forfeit my use of the locker, or that the "use" of a locker meant that the locker had to be locked. Indeed, signs in the locker areas mention nothing about needing to keep one's locker locked in order to retain its use; they only indicate that one needs to register one's locker, which - according to my understanding - I did.

Had my things been stolen, I would have accepted full responsibility. Similarly, had the library books gone missing, I would have paid for their replacement, for I would have been the one at fault. However, what did happen was that the very office which granted me the use of the locker was the one which deemed it abandoned, and felt justified in discarding of its contents, without so much as sending me email, either before or after the fact. Indeed, I only found out about my locker being cleaned out through the library staff. In my mind, the situation is analogous to a professor leaving his/her office unlocked over night, only to discover the next morning that the University authority which assigns offices has cleaned out the space.

Some of the things in my locker can be easily repurchased, and some of them had a great deal of sentimental value, and simply cannot be replaced. Once again, had they been stolen, I would have no one to blame but myself.

It is an awful feeling to be unable to trust my locker to the very authority which issues and operates the lockers. I feel as though the SAO was fully wrong to have thrown-out my belongings. I have raised the issue with Ms. Q and Mr. D, and they maintain that there was no wrongdoing on the SAO's part, but that I am at fault. However, I write to you today in the hope that, from your office, I will receive both compensation for what I've lost, and an apology.

Sincerely,

David Heti