COLUMN: A (partial) defense of Hatch Hall

An evaluation of MU’s most infamous Res Hall
Hatch Hall Hatch Hall

Mark Curtin is a Senior Film Studies/English major at MU. He is an opinion columnist who writes about local issues for The Maneater.

“Hatch Nasty:” it’s a phrase heard all across campus. Any student unfortunate enough to admit 1306 College Ave. is their place of residence gets greeted by a cacophony of the phrase. One would think the hall is MU’s slum going by such talk. Not helping is the fact it consistently ends up dead last on the “Res Halls to Live” lists, with such features as weird smells and unfriendly people. All these are matters of opinion, of course.

As a three-year Hatch-dweller, though, I can assert that most of the wilder claims are inaccurate. The orgies in the trash rooms rumor, I haven’t been able to find any support for (though I suppose I wouldn’t know what’s happening, given that I live at the hall’s end). What I’ve found is a nice place to live free of the stereotypical bustle of college life.

Not that some of the criticism isn’t accurate. I walked into the bathroom a few days ago to find diarrhea in the sink. Or maybe somebody dumped chili down it, but I didn’t stick around long enough to find out. There are some cockroaches (mostly in the basement) and a few odd scents, but this doesn’t detract from the positives for me. Are there pluses, you ask? Yes. Several, in fact.

My first counterpoint is the privacy. You’ll get nobody to bother you out here, save the occasional drunken 3 a.m. screaming, though I assume that’s unavoidable at any hall. With it comes distance, but MU’s campus really isn’t THAT big. Being social is great, but the relative isolation of Hatch, Schurz and, to a lesser extent, College Avenue, has fostered a unique community unlike anything else on campus. Having to cross that bridge onto the rest of campus is always exciting; sometimes I pause to watch the cars pass. If I’m being honest, the exercise is also good for me considering I don’t work out.

Second is the delicious Baja Grill restaurant, conveniently located in Bingham Commons, a building connected with Hatch. Now, several halls have eateries of their own, such as Mark Twain and Rollins, but lines at those locations can be truly extravagant. I have been to Rollins at times only to find the line stretched all the way down the stairs and out the door. No food is worth such a long wait. Again because of the privacy, Baja is rarely crowded – most of the traffic from the rest of campus is siphoned off by Plaza 900.

Finally, the parking. This is a point that I have never seen addressed. Most residence halls have lots that are small, distant or both. The parking garages aren’t exactly the pinnacle of convenience. AV-8 is right outside Hatch and offers one of the largest parking areas on campus. Between all that, Hatch has more than enough positives to go around.

While not everyone can overlook the, shall we say, “sanitary” issues Hatch faces, I believe it should be given a chance, especially by freshmen. It requires a certain mindset to make living here work, but there is a niche community of students who can benefit from living here. I know I have.

Edited by Bryce Kolk | bkolk@themaneater.com

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