Run-Down Residences Rile Students

Natalie Gaugh

When two separate groups of students moved into their Newell Apartments on Saturday, August 29, they met with disappointing conditions.

“The apartment wasn’t clean at all,” Newell 12 resident senior Sam Belkin said.

The residents of the apartment found dust, spiders, toothpaste on the sink and mirror, broken mattresses, a bare floor and a two-person couch for four people. Similarly, the juniors who attempted to move into Newell 34 found pills, plastic bottles, “gunk” in the toilets and “filthy curtains.”

The students living in Newell 12 contacted Residential Life (ResLife), who reportedly said that they couldn’t do anything. When the students turned to Buildings & Grounds, they were told that the beds could not be cleaned or switched until Monday. These residents were also informed that Buildings & Grounds did not work on move-in day.

The group of students in Newell 34 likewise contacted ResLife and requested a room transfer, as one of the roommates suffered from asthma and was unable to cope with the room’s conditions. After working with the office for two hours, the juniors were offered other living options, and chose to live in the University Court Apartments. The procedure inconvenienced one resident’s family, as they had driven in from four hours away.

Jennifer Adams, Director of Residential Life and Assistant Dean of the College for Residential Education, said that this situation was unusual and unacceptable.

“[The students are] absolutely right to be upset,” Adams said. “Students should move in and be happy. Everything should work and be clean. I wish they wouldn’t have had that experience. It’s not okay.”

According to Adams, there has never been a problem in the Newell Apartments before. Several departments are responsible for the situation, including the Summer Program Department which organizes conferences, camps and workshops (typically events not associated with the school) in unused Colgate buildings.

Adams believed that the rooms in the Newell basement must have been “missed,” most likely after having been occupied during the summer.

According to Adams, the state of the two Newell apartments was atypical, as “the rest of move-in seemed to go well.”

Nonetheless, coordinating summer programs, early arrivals and regular move-ins is not an easy task.

“It’s a really small window to get those spaces cleaned and students moved,” Adams said. “The timing has to be perfect with the rest of campus.”

This fall, 1,319 students moved into Colgate early, 100 of which showed up without notice, while 300 asked for permission after the deadline. However, ResLife did not officially get the halls back from summer programs until the first week of August. The rooms are normally checked by a custodial staff, followed by a Residential Advisor (RA), who fills out a room condition report.This report is ideally completed before a student arrives.

The goal of this system is to have an RA find a problem and have it repaired before the student gets there. Under certain conditions, a student is able to make adjustments to the form if they find a problem after the initial room scan by the RA.

“An RA is the best person to go to for a work order,” Adams said. The trained advisors work closely with Buildings & Grounds, which then decides the urgency of a repair based on health and safety standards.

ResLife will release a survey in the upcoming week. The survey, which Adams said typically comes back favorably, will give students the opportunity to express any concerns about the move-in process.