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Students say quality of dorm maintenance varies

Shwartz Residence Hall, New Haven, Conn., March 24, 2018. (August Pelliccio).

August PelliccioNews Writer

Sam Lonardo said there is definitely a stigma attached to the facilities operations in charge of maintaining Southern’s dormitories.

Lonardo, a junior in the School of Business, said his experience with maintenance staff has varied in the past, but he said he thinks they get a bad wrap.

According to the office of residence life’s website, their passion is to create “a fun, safe and vibrant living experience for students.”

Part of their duty is to maintain the dormitories students are living in, and procedures for reporting a needed repair can be found on the “maintenance requests” page.

This page explains that the two different types of maintenance can be requested differently. General maintenance protocol is a work order form, according to the site, but emergencies should only be reported through one of the hall’s resident advisors, or the welcome desk.

The site lists examples of a maintenance emergency, including but not limited to: door lock and key problems, clogged drains and water running problems, flooding and heat or power loss.

It also leaves an open-ended option for “Any other item, which may represent a health or safety concern.”

Lonardo said he has seen a clear separation between the priority level of maintenance that can be deemed a safety issue, and maintenance that cannot. The former he observed last year, when the refrigerator in his Schwartz Hall dormitory began leaking gas into the room.

“They came a day later, early in the morning,” said Lonardo, “and replaced it.”

Lonardo said he was pleased with the service he got in that instance, but utilizing the work order form for general maintenance has not proven fruitful for him.

“This year, one of our cabinets broke,” Lonardo said, “and they never came to fix it.”

He said he and his roommates filed the online housing work order request form in the Fall, and since have not as much as heard back from the office of residence life, or facilities. One cabinet door, Londardo said, is being loosely held on by one hinge, and nearly comes clean off the fixture if not swung open carefully. Until the proper repair is done, Lonardo said his cabinet is being held together with tape.

Nowhere on the office of residence life’s website does it offer a time frame in which work is to be done, once the work order request form is filed.

Adam Gowdy, resident advisor in West Campus Residence Hall said that resident advisors are advised not to speak about the efficiency of building repairs in residence halls. Gowdy said instead, a hall director would better be able to give insight.

Amber Serrano, director of West Campus Residence Hall, agreed to speak about her perception of the school’s maintenance staff. Serrano confirmed a time frame during which she would be available to do so, but became unresponsive after multiple telephone calls and emails.

Londardo said he has heard many students talk about dormitory maintenance, and generally observed a negative stigma. His personal experiences, he said, led him to believe the school most highly prioritizes liability.

Lonardo said, “It depends on how dangerous something is.”

Photo Credit: August Pelliccio

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