Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Thursday, February 29, 2024

My daughter moved into on-campus housing in August 2016. She was so excited to begin her college experience that she moved in early by volunteering as a Gator Aide to help others before the semester started. That excitement was short-lived.

In less than a week, the bathroom began flooding. Three separate service orders were submitted over the next few days for the ever-increasing pools of water that were forming in the bathroom, but no one responded. It wasn’t until the flooding overflowed from the bathroom to the kitchen and bedrooms that an emergency crew responded. It took two RAs to verify that, yes, it was now an emergency that required an immediate response from maintenance.

Even then, the girls were told to just mop up the inches of disgusting water.

Just as the dorm rooms were drying from that flooding, Hurricane Hermine resulted in another round of flooding from the walls and roof, which saturated the carpet and caused water damage to anything touching the carpet. Once again, response was delayed, and intervention was minimal. Industrial fans were placed to dry out the carpeting in the days following.

After the storm damage, the area RA coordinator reminded my daughter of an email that was sent out prior to the storm to remind residents to remove everything from the floor in case of flooding. Since my daughter lives on the top floor, she didn’t heed the warning, as it seemed inapplicable at the time. The conversation with the area coordinator made me realize this kind of flooding and water damage has happened with enough frequency in the past to warrant a warning after all.

Between these two floods and a slew of other minor, unrelated issues happening within the first two weeks of the semester, I insisted she request an appeal to her housing contract that would allow her to move off-campus. With the campus closed during the hurricane and holiday weekend, no one responded to my request to remove her immediately.

I then used the U Matter, We Care hotline and got a response from Jen Day Shaw, the associate vice president and Dean of Students, who forwarded the issue to T.J. Logan, the director of housing for administrative services. Logan called and said it was unnecessary to meet with him if we wanted to proceed with terminating the housing contract, as he would support our application once it was submitted.

Imagine my surprise when despite the information provided, my daughter’s first appeal was denied. I suspect there are many similar issues, and many people are complicit in preventing the spread of this information in order to force students to accept substandard, hazardous accommodations because they are contractually obligated to pay for the entire term. However, as the landlord, the university is also obligated to provide accommodations that are safe and in good repair.

So this exasperated, irate Gator Mom wants to hear from current or former on-campus residents and any current or former RAs that know of delayed maintenance or issues pertaining to UF buildings. I’ve created a Facebook page, “End UF Housing Hostage Program.” Please post your stories and experiences online. Before change can begin, we need to document the issues. I’m willing to advocate all the way to the Florida governor’s office to make sure students are not victimized by their on-campus housing or the staff entrusted to protect them.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox
Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.