W&L Held Accountable for Unsafe Housing Conditions

W&L Held Accountable for Unsafe Housing Conditions

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Latinx Student Organization started this petition to Washigton and Lee University Adminstration and

Continuously, Washington and Lee University Leadership has failed to accommodate students with proper housing. Theme Housing when compared to other housing options is not a representation of fair and safe housing. In fact, within the past three years, diaspora and minority-student housing have been subject to horrible living conditions. Students who reside in these households have dealt with bed bugs, rat infested dorms, flooding etc. These students have expressed concerns throughout the years and it has yielded little change. 

On Wednesday, February 24, at Nuestro Hogar Latino-- a theme house that aims to provide a community and environment in which Latinx cultures, issues, and identities are promoted and acknowledged-- one resident's ceiling collapsed while she was in her room. By pure chance, the debris did not fall onto her but instead all around her. Some of her personal items, including her personal computer, were damaged due to the heavy debris. [Images of Damage: Nuestro Hogar Latino - Damages]. That night, the two students residing there were asked by Public Safety (University Security) to reside at friend’s housing since they were not able to contact any Administration or Campus Housing Personnel. The students who lived here are still dealing with the displacement and the frustration of not being heard. 

Last year at Nuestro Hogar Latino, a previous resident of this theme house had reported the cracked ceiling and brought concerns to Campus Housing regarding the Theme House’s physical state. This demonstrates neglect from the University when it comes to addressing the safety and structure of the building. The University should take students' requests and concerns regarding damage reports--that are required to be conducted by the student’s on the Campus Housing’s behalf-- seriously. 

President Dudley responded poorly to the student whose property and living conditions were destroyed. He showed little sympathy and little action towards the situation that occurred at the house. On Friday, President Dudley shared an “Update on Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives” that did not address the living conditions of Nuestro Hogar Latino nor the other Theme Houses who have been greatly affected this year. This is a slap to the face to the students dealing with the consequences of the University’s obvious neglect and lack of responsibility to amend the living conditions for ALL students. 

We, the current students, parents, alumni, and concerned parties demand the following:

  • For President Dudley to communicate with the Student Body what has been going on throughout all Themed Housing and acknowledge that housing-- often the housing that minority students and diverse populations are residing in -- are not granted the same benefits and security as other housing found on campus. 
  • For Washington and Lee University’s Campus Housing to guarantee safe living conditions for all students.
    Ensure that the students who resided in Nuestro Hogar Latino get a safe space that maintains the original mission and purpose of the theme house.
  • For Campus Housing to have effective protocol in the event this were to happen again. Including but not limited to the following: 
    • For the Deans to be contacted immediately
    • For students to be placed immediately into alternative housing
    • For compensation for damaged items
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