Students compensated after dorm flooding

By on February 24, 2016

The university compensated several students who were displaced after flooding in their residence halls on the Mount Carmel campus. But some of these 49 students received more money than others, while others were not compensated at all.

Seven of the 14 students who were displaced after a pipe burst in Hill on Jan. 29 were given $15 each for laundry and $50 in meal plan money, according to Assistant Director of Residential Life for sophomore housing Michael Guthrie.

During the morning of the flood, a damaged toilet caused a pipe to burst and water to leak from Hill 10 room 12A into the ceiling of Hill 10 room 11A. The water continued to spread throughout the suite, according to sophomore Nicolas Colon, a resident of Hill 10 room 11A. As a result, Facilities gave some of the Hill residents money through Q-Cash in order to pay for the cleaning of their wet clothing.

This money allows the students to do five loads of laundry for clothes that may have been wet or damp because of the leak, Guthrie said.

Colon said the compensation awarded to him and his roommates helped offset the cost of laundry and make up for their inability to cook for themselves.

“Although it did take some time, it was the appropriate gesture from Res. Life and Facilities,” he said. “It was enough for the circumstances, but we will see what arises in terms of property damage.”

Guthrie said the residents of room 12A were not compensated because the damage to their room was minimal.

“It is my understanding that [the residents of room 12A] did not experience the level of damage that [room] 11A experienced and [room] 12A was also able to return to their room significantly sooner than [room] 11A,” Guthrie said.

The Hill 12A residents were relocated to Village and returned to their original housing assignment four days later. Meanwhile, the seven residents of Hill 11A moved to Perlroth, a residence hall without a kitchen, for a total of two weeks while renovations were ongoing. This is why these Hill 11A students received extra meal plan money, Guthrie said.

“The reason being is when a student goes from Hill, they have a partial meal plan and when a student goes to Perlroth they have a full meal plan because there’s no kitchen,” he said.

Sophomore Benjamin Tzodikov, resident of Hill 12A, said he wasn’t compensated and didn’t expect to be.

“Instead of getting compensated, Public Safety and Facilities tried to blame us for the flooding even though it was clearly not our fault,” he said. “If there was someone in our room right away fixing this problem, which when they came only took them a matter of seconds to turn off the water, then we would not have had to move out and create all of this mess.”

Sophomore Josh Gonzalez, a resident of Hill 12A, said they called Public Safety immediately following the constant swirling of the toilet and were assured someone would arrive soon. However, approximately 10 minutes before Public Safety arrived, the pipe behind the toilet burst. That is when the leak began.

Guthrie said it was important for Residential Life to reach out and compensate the students who were impacted.

“We’re very supportive,” Guthrie said. ”This is a very difficult situation for them. Any student that gets displaced in you know a situation like this, we definitely want to reach out and support to our best.”

Associate Vice President for Facilities Keith Woodward said Facilities does their best to fix any problems in order to not inconvenience the students.

“We strive to complete the necessary repairs in a timely fashion and have residents return as quick as possible,” Woodward said in an email.

Meanwhile, a pipe burst early in the morning on Feb. 16 in the Village 600s, affected six suites and forced 35 students to relocate. Two of the six suites have already moved back into their rooms, according to Guthrie.

Guthrie said there are still 24 students who were temporarily displaced to Perlroth, Troup, Founders, Whitney Village and Village.

“We were fortunate enough to be able to keep all 35 students who were originally displaced with at least one or two of their roommates,” Guthrie said in an email. “In two instances we were able to keep full suites together.”

All of the students displaced from Village received $15 on their Q-Cash for laundry purposes which was paid for by Facilities and Residential Life, according to Guthrie. He also said that Facilities washed and dried some of the clothes for some of the rooms where the worst water damage occurred.

Woodward said Facilities is working to repair the damage caused by the pipe bursting in Village, such as replacing insulation, sheetrock replacement and checking all life safety equipment. He also said the work will take an estimated three weeks to repair.

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