By Shannon Miller
Assistant News Editor
Some students living on campus have growing concerns about the cleanliness and maintenance of the Riggs, Post and Brookville residence halls. Complaints range from declining restroom conditions to a lingering mold problem.
The Pioneer has reported on mold and poor dorm conditions for almost a decade, and as students come and go, grievances remain. After returning to their dorms from the 2018-19 winter break, residents added new frustrations to an old list of unresolved issues. The facilities services department works to address their concerns. If they aren’t aware of the problem, though, they can’t fix it.
At the end of last semester, Post Hall resident and junior theater major, Alyssa Williams, noticed something was missing in the bathroom. “We literally just walked into the restroom to take a shower and were just like ‘oh, our shower heads are gone,’” she said. There are three showers in this women’s bathroom, and according to Williams, all of the shower heads have yet to be replaced.
Williams doesn’t mind the missing fixtures because “you actually get water pressure.” However, her friends are irritated because the water isn’t controlled and shoots out like a hose, making for an uncomfortable, and at times painful, shower.
Williams is more concerned about the corroded and broken water fountains throughout the building. Only one works and it’s located on the first floor. What was once a shiny stainless steel, is now layered in a crusty film. “The water fountains are all white; they look like milk,” she said.
Roy Fergus, head of the facilities department, asserts he is unaware of any complaints about the conditions of the water fountains. He plans to submit a work order immediately for plumbers to address the situation.
Junior nutrition major Katie Bendersky, a resident in Brookville Hall, avoids showering in her dorm’s restroom as often as possible.
“I shower at Pratt because the showers here don’t even get that hot really,” she said. She’s uncertain if the dorm stalls are missing shower heads or if they’re just subpar, but like those in Post Hall, she described them as painful. “Even when I go to Pratt it sometimes hurts and I have to use the handicap one, and I feel terrible about it. But this has an actual shower head and I’m not getting pelted by this one’s stream,” she said.
The facilities department didn’t acknowledge directly whether Fergus or his staff are aware of the missing shower heads. They also couldn’t confirm if complaints exist in the TMA work order system.
Amara Batakas, a junior criminal justice major who is also a resident of Brookville Hall, hasn’t noticed if the stalls are missing shower heads, but she has noticed the recurring mold in both the restrooms and the dorms.
“My friend had to move out of her room because of the mold,” she said. “I’m just going to go on a wild guess here that there’s mold in every building, and they really need to do something about it.”
But sports management major, Jordan Valerius Twyman, a junior who transferred to Post this semester, has yet to see any mold or missing plumbing fixtures in Brookville’s bathrooms. According to him, when the resident advisors held their meeting at the start of the semester, they advised residents to keep the restrooms as clean as possible. “If we didn’t, the janitors wouldn’t clean it for us,” he said.
In Riggs Hall, some residents are disappointed in the upkeep of the building. Sophomore theater major, Emma Kocar, recalls all of the showers not functioning in a first-floor restroom for the majority of the fall semester, forcing students to shower on a different floor. Although, like others, her main concern continues to be the mold growing in the bathroom she uses. “It didn’t really start getting cleaned up until people started complaining about black mold in the dorms,” she said.
The mold is an issue the facilities department takes very seriously and takes proper precautions to prevent as best they can. When aware of it, the custodial staff is trained to wipe it down immediately using a green chemical solution. Response time is key, according to Fergus. “Our frontline is our daily staff out in the buildings. Anytime we see windows open we want to get them closed. If there is a hole in the wall somewhere, we need to know about it because that’s generally the way we get mold infiltration,” he said.
Despite attempts to control the problem, black mold is still noticeable in many areas of the bathroom, students said. It’s growing in the shower stalls, around the rims of the sinks, and on the corroded ceiling tiles. “It’s concerning cause it’s mold. That really shouldn’t be growing in a bathroom that you’re using on a regular basis. We all pay a lot of money to go here and it’s a problem,” Kocar said.
The cost to dorm on campus almost doubles the cost of commuter tuition, making resident’s wonder where their money goes. Kirsten Kirker, a senior nursing major, resided on campus her first three years. She decided to commute her senior year for financial reasons. She resided in Queens Hall her freshman year, in Brookville her sophomore year, and then Riggs her junior year. Like Kocar, she also witnessed problems with the showers in Riggs. “The woman’s shower was completely sealed off, so we had to go upstairs and use that bathroom,” she said.
Fergus advises students to become familiar with their work order request system, TMA, put into place last year. TMA provides the facilities department with management software meant to expedite the communication process between them and those requiring maintenance. Once a work order is received, they deploy staff to get it repaired. “We’re encouraging everyone to use it. “You need any service at any time, anywhere, you’re able to put it in the system and we can certainly get to everything within 24 hours,” Fergus said.
Sophomore student, Sophia Strauss, used TMA when her dorm room ceiling began leaking one night. When mold appeared on their furniture shortly after, they were moved into a new dorm room where they again found mold growing on the bed frames. With help from their resident advisor, a TMA ticket was submitted, and staff arrived that day to remove and replace the moldy furniture, according to Strauss. “People do fill out work orders,” she said, “Once the R.A. got involved, they did it all for us. That way we can just have a smooth move back in.”
When residents submit a work order, they will receive an email back stating their request was received, Fergus said. A second email is then sent when the work order is assigned to a technician, and a final email goes out once the work order is completed. By using this new system, according to Fergus, “there is always an ability to know where your work request is in the system.”
The facilities page of the LIU website hasn’t been updated with the necessary web links needed to complete a TMA work order; nor does it reflect the newly implicated protocol suggested by the facilities department.
A link to the web-based TMA form is provided in Brookville Hall’s Instagram profile for those who use the social media app. If help is needed completing the form, resident advisors are available to assist students with the process.
If both are unavailable, students can contact facilities services at 516-299-2277.