Dung in the dorms: Serial pooper strikes Abbott Hall laundry room

By Josie Arnett

A bowel movement bandit has been prowling the lower level laundry room in Abbott Hall, leaving several residents to find fecal matter on clothes they left in washing machines. 

“We heard about the pooper two weeks ago, two or three weeks ago,” Khiyah Ransom, a sophomore living in Abbott Hall studying industrial design, said. 

Ransom said she found out about the fecal fiend through a group chat that mentioned a student living on the second floor found excrement on her clothing in the washing machine.

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The excrement was found after the student’s clothes had gone through a complete cycle, Ransom said. After hearing of the first incident, Ransom said maintenance cleaned the machine.

Ransom said as far as she knows, only one student has told their RA about finding poop on their clothes, so maintenance has only come to clean the machines once.

However, at this point, residents say there have been eight confirmed excrement encounters in the laundry room of Abbott, two of which happened during the 2016-17 academic year.

“Now I’m, like, terrified to wash in Abbott,” Ransom said. “I was really upset about it, but I was like, I’m just wondering who’s doing this pooping.”

Ransom said she thinks the poop perpetrator might be striking when residents take too long to get their clothes out of the washers.

The laundry room in the lower level does not have any cameras, so Ransom said one proposed solution is to lock the laundry room and keep a resident assistant at the door to let students in.

Alternatively, Ransom said housing may just lock the door and allow no one to wash their clothes in that laundry room.

“I don’t think it’s really funny,” Ransom said.

Residence assistants and their supervisors declined to comment on the dorm droppings.

Brian Piller, a freshman studying industrial design from Downers Grove, said he fell victim to the pooper last week.

“I went down into the laundry room to wash my clothes and I opened one of the washers and noticed that it smelled like someone had taken a dump in there,” Piller said.

He said his initial reaction was not that someone had intentionally dropped dung on his duds.

“It kind of surprised me,” Pillar said. “I wondered if maybe someone had had an accident in their clothes or something. It never occurred to me that, you know, someone would poop on clothes in the laundry room.”

Sami Pierce, a sophomore studying interior design from Danvers, had a similar experience in September.

“This has been a problem for awhile,” Pierce said.

In every incident, the fecal matter was found in the rubber seal of the machine.

Pierce was getting her laundry out of the washer when she noticed feces around where one of her socks was caught.

“All the fun things get stuck in there,” Pierce said. “Where do you report it to, though? That’s not something you expect when you’re doing laundry.”

Erica Miller, a sophomore studying mortuary science from St. Louis, said he has found poop in his clothing three times since he began living in Abbott. Two of the incidents with his clothing occurred last year, he said.

“It’s about once every semester, I swear,” Miller said.

Miller, again, said he found the feces in the rubber seal inside the machine.

“I get my clothes out of the washer and there’s the smell,” he said. “That is what you encounter first, and then you find it. You see the actual feces, and it’s in the little rubber thing and you peel it back, and you’re like ‘No, thank you.’ And it looks like it’s been through a cycle.”

He said although the feces has never actually gotten into his clothing, it’s still too close for comfort.

“They were side by side and that was good enough for me,” Miller said.

Staff designer Josie Arnett can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JosieArnett. 

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