Residents of Dunn, Morrison and Fair Commons have been finding it difficult to settle into their new living spaces this year due to a myriad of housing issues.
There have been multiple reports of bedbugs in Dunn, Morrison has been having issues with hot water and the fire alarms in Fair Commons have gone off about four times this year when there was no real threat of a fire.
In Dunn Hall, there have been four reported incidents of bedbugs this semester. Connor Thomas, resident director of Dunn, says the rooms that have reported bedbugs are being treated.
“Heat is the best way to kill bedbugs,” he said. “We’re telling students to wash their bed sheets on the hottest cycle and dry them twice. An exterminator then comes in and sprays a chemical.”
Once the chemicals have been sprayed, students are told to wait outside of their rooms for three hours. Thomas said rooms are usually treated with chemicals twice as a precautionary measure.
In addition to treating rooms that have reported bedbugs, rooms across the hall and next door are being treated as well.
Thomas believes the bedbug issues Dunn is having now are the result of past reports going untreated due to a lack of evidence.
“There have been some issues in the past,” he said. “Last school year we had our first report soon after Christmas break. We’ve had a few since then and one over the summer. Unfortunately, they weren’t taken care of, and those are some of the same rooms we’re having issues with now.”
Thomas has a few recommendations for students concerned about getting bedbugs.
“Before I was an RD, I was a social worker,” he said. “Part of our training was learning how to prevent bedbugs from spreading, because we went into so many houses every day that it would be normal to be in one with bedbugs.
“This first thing I did was, right when I got home, I went into my laundry room, took all my clothes off and put them in the washer on the hottest setting. I took a long hot shower, then I took my clothes out of the washer and put them in the dryer for two cycles.”
According to Thomas, it’s easy to tell when a bed has bedbugs by checking under the sheets.
“You can peel your sheets back and look at your mattress to see if there’s fecal matter or blood, because they suck your blood,” he said.
Carter Haupt, assistant resident director of Dunn, says bedbugs are not as much of a threat as most students think.
“I feel like when people hear ‘bedbugs’ they think of lice and how easily they can spread,” he said. “There is some risk of bedbugs traveling to other halls, but we haven’t really seen that happening.”
Haupt warns students to keep an eye out for piles of clothes on their floors that bedbugs could hide in. He also said bites are a telltale sign of bedbugs.
“When they bite, it’s a line of bites,” Haupt said. “That’s a good way of knowing that it’s not mosquitoes or spiders.”
Residents of Dunn are not the only ones dealing with housing issues. Those living in Morrison Hall have been dealing with a lack of hot water since about the second week of classes.
Zina Teague, Morrison RD, says she’s not sure why the hot water isn’t working, but that she has been working with the Physical Plant to find out.
“The Physical Plant has been trying, and is continuing to try, to diagnose what is causing the issue and then to find a solution to that,” she said. “As residents are reporting to their RAs about not having hot water, we are continuing to update the Physical Plant and they are coming in to look at our system.”
Teague says there have been issues with hot water in Morrison in the past, but never for this long.
“Since I have been here, Morrison has had a couple of days previously where there was no hot water,” she said. “It wasn’t nearly as long as we have experienced this school year.”
For students irritated by the problem, Teague recommends talking to an RA.
“As we wait, I think Morrison residents can continue to make their RAs and myself aware of any hot water issues that may come up, but also extend some grace as the Physical Plant works to try and find out what exactly isn’t working and a solution to that,” she said.
Marissa Budd, freshman nursing major and Morrison resident, has been unable to wind down after a long day of classes due to the lack of hot water.
“Not being able to take a hot shower has made me personally very annoyed,” she said. “I want to be able to come back and relax with a hot shower after a stressful or bad day, so not having hot water makes that impossible.”
Budd says other residents of Morrison Hall feel cheated when it comes to housing costs.
“Some people are frustrated because we’re paying money for room and board—which includes the showers—and essentially not getting what we’re paying for,” she said.
Upperclassmen are not immune to housing issues. Though they may not have to worry about bedbugs or a lack of hot water, residents of Fair Commons are concerned about the sensitivity of the fire alarms throughout the building.
Dillon Lockwood, resident director of the apartments, says there are a multitude of things that can set off the fire alarms, but the most common one is cooking.
“Most of the time it’s people learning how to cook,” he said. “They just forget to turn the fan on. That’s the biggest one.”
The alarms can also be set off by students vaping in their rooms, water vapor from hot showers and possibly aerosol items such as hair spray.
The Fair fire alarm system is designed to sound throughout the whole building only when two alarms in the same apartment have been triggered. When only one alarm has been triggered, a pre-alarm warning starts beeping in the lobby. An RA who hears the pre-alarm can check the suspected room before an issue arises.
To prevent two fire alarms in an apartment from going off while cooking or showering, Lockwood encourages students to keep the hallway doors closed in an attempt to keep smoke or steam contained to one area with one alarm.
“If we can keep the smoke in one area, then it won’t be an issue,” he said. “If it starts spreading throughout your whole apartment, then that’s when it becomes an issue.”
Despite the inconvenience, Lockwood is glad the fire alarms work as well as they do.
“Right now, it seems annoying that they’re so sensitive, but I’d rather they be more sensitive than not sensitive enough,” he said.
Madison Moreland, junior political science major, is a resident of Fair Commons who believes the sensitivity of the fire alarms poses a danger to students.
“I think it takes away from the seriousness of a real fire alarm, because everyone takes it as a joke,” she said. “If there is a real fire alarm, I don’t think anyone’s going to take it seriously.”
Moreland and her roommates have also found the alarms to be inconvenient.
“Every time the fire alarms have gone off, one of my roommates has been in the shower,” she said. “She has to hurry up, get out of the shower and come down the stairs. It’s just an inconvenience in that way.
“This past Saturday I had an assignment due at midnight. The fire alarm went off and we were outside for 15 minutes. It’s not a lot of time, but it’s still time I could have used to work on my homework.”
Moreland is also worried about having to stand outside in the cold during the winter months.
“Later on in the year, when it’s winter, it’s going to be so cold,” she said. “It’s going to be awful to have to go downstairs—at least once a week at this rate—just to basically have a drill, since there’s no real fire, just overly sensitive fire alarms.”