Residence Halls Have Seen Better Days

Photo by Jeannette LaPointe.

Despite the addition of Ridgeview Hall last year and the current renovation of Bevier Hall, many of the older residence halls still frequently experience problems such as hot water and clogged drains. Last semester, students on campus also experienced the infestations of mice and bedbugs. 

In the case of an infestation, an exterminator contracted through the Facilities Operations Center (FOC) is brought in to assess the problem. FOC contracted a new exterminator this year and when they are called in they do everything possible to avoid using chemicals.

“We do an integrative pest management contract that is non-chemical,” said Gary Buckman, Director of Facilities Operations and Maintenance. “That’s a last resort.”

According to first-year psychology major Rebecca Walsh, when her room in Bliss Hall was infested with mice, the exterminator set up loud bait traps to take care of the problem.

“With the mice came endless amounts of mice droppings everywhere, which was extremely unsettling in a really cramped room,” she said. “Not to mention finding a dead mouse in my closet that smelled horrible.”

During the process, affected students are offered the option of moving to a temporary location on campus, or they can choose to stay with a friend off campus. Beyond that, students receive no compensation in the event of an infestation.

Buckman said that it’s hard to give a timeline for pest management because there are so many variables to monitor in the case of an infestation.

“It’s pretty wide-ranging but we address it and we monitor it,” he said. “The main thing is we continue to do it until it is resolved.”

According to Corrina Caracci, Director of Residence Life, these kinds of infestations are a common problem and can be the result of a variety of things.

“We’ve never given compensation because the reality is that it isn’t the college’s fault per say,” she said. “Bedbugs are a problem that everybody has, every college, every hotel, anywhere; bedbugs are transported by people.”

Caracci added that part of the protocol in the case of bedbugs is to throw out the mattress, even though the college’s mattresses are bedbug proof. Even if the student is the one who brought in the bedbugs, they are not charged to rectify the cost of the mattress. 

According to Caracci, in cases of mice infestations, none of the students elected to move when offered the option by residence life.

“When you live in a big community, especially in the winter when it gets cold, they want to come inside,” she said. “Mice only stay if they’re being fed and warm; I’m not an expert but I listen to what the experts say when they give advice to students.”

Caracci said that in the event of something breaking, for example a pipe bursting in someone’s room causing damages to their belongings, the College would pay for damages in that kind of situation.

Second-year biology major Kendra Dansereau lived in Bevier Hall last semester and described it as gross and never clean, with the bathrooms and ceilings being particularly disgusting. Additionally, part of the ceiling in her common room fell in, along with some dead insects, towards the end of the semester.

Dansereau and her suitemates were moved to another suite for the night, but they were not notified of the move until after 11 p.m. and the damage was not assessed until the next day.

“They came the next morning and looked at it and said they didn’t see anything wrong so they just put a temporary thing to put over the hole, taped it up and left,” she said. “Nothing else happened after that.”

Dansereau and her suitemates received no compensation from the College.

Buckman said that the timeline to fulfill a request for a repair varies depending on the item in question.

“If it’s a clogged drain that’s got a higher priority, kind of an emergency situation and we’ll come right over and do the repair, usually the same day unless there were parts to be redone,” he said. “Any other ones would be on our normal work schedule, but I would say within a week for any normal order.”

Walsh has also experienced problems regarding the cleanliness of the bathrooms in Bliss Hall. She said that a sink in the gender neutral bathroom breaks often and once was filled with old water that did not drain for about a week and a half.

According to Caracci, anyone can request a work order through whether it be student, residence life staff or custodial staff. From there, depending on the issue, the repair request is sent to the appropriate department.

“It all depends on where the problem is and when they put the work order in, it gets generated and the person comes and fixes it or reports back that they needed another part to complete the job or something like that,” she said.

Telecom problems go to telecommunications, cable and broken washers or dryers go to Campus Auxilary Services (CAS) and issues such as a drain would go to FOC, according to Caracci.