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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Student wants clotheslines on campus; official argues it's a safety issue

<p>UF sophomore Chris Saunders separates his dark from his light clothes in the laundry room of Beaty Towers West on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2007.</p>

UF sophomore Chris Saunders separates his dark from his light clothes in the laundry room of Beaty Towers West on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2007.

Some students enjoy the smell of fresh sun-dried laundry. Some students prefer to dry their laundry on a clothesline to protect against the wear and tear of the electric dryer. But, like anyone else who lives on the UF campus, Ricardo Brown-Salazar is unable to use a clothesline to dry his clothes.

According to UF housing regulations, drying clothes on clotheslines, fences, breezeways or on adjacent apartment building areas is not permitted. Brown-Salazar, a graduate student who lives in Tanglewood Village, believes the regulation contradicts the university's attempts to be more environmentally friendly.

Students are not allowed to erect clotheslines or use solar power to dry clothing outside of their own living areas.

"This policy is in place for a couple of reasons," said Rob Holland, graduate and family housing administrative coordinator. "The primary concern is safety. There's just so many different places that someone could set up a clothesline, and given the sheer volume of people living here, some with children, it's better just to ban them outright."

Holland also said the university is concerned that if every student wanted to put up a clothesline, the campus would quickly become cluttered with student laundry.

"The university takes great effort to have the look of its grounds and facilities give off a certain aura," he said. "It gives off a different look than what we're going for if there are clotheslines everywhere."

Brown-Salazar wants UF to change the policy. He said new energy-saving light bulbs had been installed in all the village housing, but residents were being forced to use energy-inefficient electric dryers.

Holland contended safety factors were more pressing than conserving energy.

"We aren't against saving energy," he said. "But if someone wants to save energy by using candles, obviously they can't; there's a safety element there. It's the same for the clotheslines."

Brown-Salazar has started a petition for his community, and he said he plans to submit it in less than one month to UF's housing officials.

He cited examples from Florida statutes that promote the use of solar drying. Those statutes don't apply to condominiums or apartment complexes though.

"The university is not keeping the spirit of that law though," he said.

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Brown-Salazar got the go-ahead from the mayor of his village to petition UF housing to set up clotheslines. Not every unit needs a clothesline, but there should be a designated area on campus where students can line-dry their clothing, he said.

Holland said that students can use drying racks in their own apartments to dry their clothes. Additionally, he said that officials would be willing to take suggestions on how to address the issue.

"We always entertain suggestions and ideas from the students," he said. "Would we rule out looking at it again? If the situation was right, we would consider it. But since it is part of the contract, we aren't going to be quick to remove it either."

Brown-Salazar said he hopes the petition will impact housing officials.

"Everybody needs to sacrifice something if we want to do something to save the planet," he said. "This is a way to pay it back to the environment."

UF sophomore Chris Saunders separates his dark from his light clothes in the laundry room of Beaty Towers West on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2007.

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