By Erin Jayne Mansfield
Residents of Kelly and Roosevelt Quads returned to their dorms the night of Thursday, February 5, to find out that both their heat and hot water would be shut off from Saturday morning until Monday afternoon in order to fix a broken pipe.
“Please make appropriate accommodations for your comfort,” the signs plastered around their buildings read. “Personal space heaters are not permitted in the residence halls.”
Most students found that the only answer was to leave campus on Friday, but some have jobs in the area on the weekends and were obligated to stay. For students who do not live in the area, especially out-of-state and international students, this was an even bigger problem. Residents who stayed resorted to cold showers, or trekking across campus to the SAC gym or neighboring dorms.
On Sunday night, RAs went door-to-door to ask their residents to vacate their rooms because temperatures would be below freezing. At 7:19 p.m., Campus Residences posted an alert on the front of the SBU’s homepage telling all residents of Roosevelt Quad and residents of Baruch, Eisenhower and Dewey buildings in Kelly Quad to find other arrangements for the night.
The notice stated that Campus Residences would offer the “several hundred” displaced students other housing arrangements on campus for the night, but went on to warn that, “In this case, you would be required to bring your own pillow and blankets to make yourself comfortable on a carpeted floor overnight.”
This is the latest of events over the past school year where utilities have been cut off due to construction, causing students great discomfort. In other situations, water was completely cut off from the dorm, meaning that residents could not even flush the toilet. This is the first time, however, that residents have actually been asked to leave their dorms.
Marina Jabsky, a senior who lives in Keller College, said that even though she was able to stay at a friend’s house, she was still very resentful of the situation: “We have to get up at seven, bring our stuff back and then go to class.”
Jabsky added that after her four years at SBU, she was not surprised. “I feel like everything [Campus Residences does] is kind of backwards,” she said. “Why couldn’t they fix this before the students moved back in?” Asked if she intended to write to Campus Residences to be reimbursed, she said she hadn’t decided.
Both Quad Directors and Residence Hall Directors are not allowed to comment.
An RA from Roosevelt Quad, who is also forbidden by contract from disclosing information about the university, called the construction disruptive. “It takes a lot away from the university.” Adding that it is dangerous, the RA said, “There aren’t even warning signs placed anywhere. They had three months [in the summer] to do this when the ground wasn’t frozen. It doesn’t look like they’re getting anything done.”
But the students on campus got very creative. One student said he would put his clothes in the dryer before he wore them, in order to keep warm. Another said that she had to heat water on the stove in her kettle to bathe on Saturday morning. Some wanted to stay in their dorm rooms and just bundle themselves in sweatshirts and blankets until Monday morning.
David Meis, a freshman from New Jersey who lives in Stimson College, said that the short notice meant he could not get a discounted price for an LIRR ticket to get away from campus on Friday. Asked if he intended to return to SBU next year, Meis said, “I don’t want to, but I have to.” He is still living in a freshman triple.
“I don’t really have anywhere to go, because I’m from Buffalo,” said freshman Brittany Kalosza, a resident of Greeley College who works at the Kelly Dining Center on the weekends. “All my friends live in my quad, so it’s not like I can go to a friend’s dorm.”
As of Monday, Campus Residences had not reported any intention to reimburse students for the inconvenience.