Western Kentucky University, McLean Hall Residents Demand Financial Compensation

Western Kentucky University, McLean Hall Residents Demand Financial Compensation

April 9, 2022
Petition to
WKU President Timothy Caboni and
Signatures: 297Next Goal: 500
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Why this petition matters

Started by Kayla Distler

For the entirety of the 2021-2022 school year, Western Kentucky University's residence halls have been facing adversity after adversity. From uncontrollable mold (all of them), broken washing machines (all of them), fire alarms never ceasing to stop (Regeants), busted pipes (Hilltopper), cockroaches (Gilbert), to ignored maintenance requests and unfulfilled promises.

This petition is specifically addressing the grievances of McLean Hall residents.

August 2021: 1 washing machine broke down. It was removed and never replaced. We were left with 3. 1 of the dryers broke down and went unfixed for months.

August 2021: Unpredictable internet connections. This is a college campus and we have work to be done on laptops nearly everyday. Issue is resolved by the end of the month.

August 2021: Issues with humidity, bugs (silverfish), and mold. The mold issue continued to get worse until the HVAC system was switched over to heat. Residents were blamed for the mold in their room, yet it went away when the HVAC system was no longer producing AC. Students, like myself, were dumping up to 4 gallons of water out of dehumidifiers every single day to delay the mold from continuing to grow. This was an issue all over campus, but this residence hall specifically was not given dehumidifiers like other dorms (I purchased one myself for $120). This issue persisted until November. The blame is put solely on the residents and not the issues with the building that should be addressed.

During the time of mold, students from every residence hall were dealing with it. When maintenance requests were submitted, it would be days before someone came to fix it. Mattresses were being covered in it and students were falling seriously ill. In order to get the mold taken care of, students had to beg maintenance to properly take care of it. As mentioned, they were blamed for it happening, (i.e. the way the thermostat was set, having the air on to stay cool, houseplants producing humidity, small fish tanks producing humidity, etc. If it was something that was not related to WKU at all, it was to blame for the mold).

My personal experience includes finding my mattress covered in mold on a Thursday night. I was promised Friday by DFM that I would have a new mattress that day. I did not get a new mattress until the following Monday. It was shared with me that the person in charge of delivering the mattress was instructed to NOT bring the mattresses to my room. What is the reason for this?

November 2021: Temperatures outside were regularly low and we were not able to turn on heat until the HVAC system was switched. We were cold.

(Added 4/14/22) November 2021: A high pitched, repetitive noise began coming out of the air vent in my room. It did not last for long, but long enough to interrupt sleep at late hours during the night for multiple days. A maintenance request was submitted 11/9/21. A second request was submitted 11/11/21 because it seemed like someone had been in our room, but the issue was not resolved. This request was never responded to,

Unknown date during Fall 2021: One of the washing machines went down, and when it was fixed, it has since asked for $.25 or $.50 to do more than a "light" load. There is no place to insert coins and the laundry is supposed to be free anyways, as it is included in our tuition. Ongoing issue.

January 2022: Washing machines continue to have issues that go unresolved for days or weeks. This building has over 100 residents and had to manage 2 washers at any given moment.

(Added 4/14/22) January 2022: A third maintenance request was submitted for the air vent issue in my room on 1/24/22 upon arriving back to campus from winter break. The noise was louder, more frequent, and lasted for hours at a time. It was an unpleasant, high pitched, and repetitive noise that was happening regardless if the air was on or not.

February 2022: Heating/air issues happen to multiple rooms. Many residents are once again left very cold and unable to fix anything. The issues went largely unresolved for days.

(Added 4/14/22) February 2022: A fourth request was submitted on 2/1/22 for the ongoing noise in my dorm. This request went ignored for a week. I called the Department of Facilities Management twice on 2/7/22 and was finally able to speak to someone one-on-one and express the issue happening and the way I was feeling about it being unresolved since November. Someone responded that day. Appropriate parts were ordered and the noise was able to be temporarily shut off by disconnecting something that enables AC specifically. I have no idea when the part was replaced, but it no longer makes the noise and we are able to use AC. 

February 2022: One of the washing machines flooded the entire laundry room. This washing machine is not fixed for weeks. 

February 2022: All 3 washing machines are now broken. We have no other options for washing laundry (i.e. not given access to any other building). We are forced to wait with no transparency about what is happening and what we can do. This issue is not resolved for over a week.

March 2022: We are told that the washing machines breaking down are because of us, the residents. We are told to not open them "halfway through the cycle" to prevent issues from happening in the future. This is yet another example of residents being blamed for issues that are not our fault. The washing machines have a LOCK on them and it is physically not possible to open them during the cycle. The blame is yet again put on the residents for an issue happening in the dorm that is not their fault.

March 30, 2022: Hot water is unavailable in the entire building. The water is consistently cold, but lukewarm if you are lucky for a moment.

April 2022: Residents with mold in their vents from the fall are finally getting their vents changed. The mold has left them sick many times since August.

April 6, 2022: Washing machine floods once again. Once again, residents are told it is their fault that is happened.

April 6, 2022: An update is given on the hot water issue. 2 parts are needed and they are ordered, but there is no timeline available. We are clueless about when hot water will be available. We were told that the gym on campus has hot showers. This is a 10 minute walk, and just for a shower. On the weekends they are open Saturdays 9-2 and Sunday 1-6. This is not feasible in the slightest. We can't only shower on weekdays, nor should we be dealing with this.

April 8, 2022: As we continue to deal with NO HOT WATER AT ALL, the temperature outside drops. Rooms drop to low 60 temperatures. The hallway thermostat on the second floor reads 62. We are COLD and we do not have hot water to take a shower to warm up. One of the resident’s room on floor 2 made it below 40 degrees. There is no way to improve this situation. Fire hazards are likely to be created through the use of electric heaters. This could have been prevented by not switching the HVAC system over to completely cold air. When the system is set to heat, the air coming out is nothing but cold and it will drop the temperature in the room.

April 9, 2022 (the day I am writing this): Of course, we are still without hot water and heat. I am writing this petition on behalf of the 100+ residents living in McLean Hall to lay out the preventable problems we have dealt with all year. We are at a point that living here is miserable and unbearable. When the temperature is getting down to 32 tonight, what are we supposed to do? We have no control over the heat because the system was switched over. It does not make sense that the heating and air system would be switched to AC whenever we are not done with cold weather. On top of that, we do not have hot water and have not for a week and a half. It is unreasonable to not perform regular checks on the water heating systems to ensure that residents will not be stuck in a position that we are now. Ordering 2 parts when the issue is in full swing could've been avoided by double checking that things are working like they are supposed to be. Everything leading up to our current state could have been prevented.

(Added 4/14/22): Residents were informed on 4/11 that the lack of hot water and heat are associated with the boiler failing, and not due to the HVAC system being switched over. During the transition from heat to cool, the assessment of the boiler indicated it was good for the switch to continue. Sometime after the cooling system was introduced, the boiler then failed. Attempts were made to repair it on the first day, but they failed. On the second day of repairs is when parts were ordered. I am adding this blurb to emphasize that this was not communicated with us until afterwards, and I was under the assumption that switching the systems is solely to blame for the heat, and it was not. A lack of communication until after the fact led to this belief.

Upon asking my floor what their thermostat says, some of them have said it is as low as 53 degrees. Many of our rooms are below 64 degrees. Hallways are reading 60 degrees. Again; WKU is asking for fire hazards to be created because we have no options to heat up our rooms other than the use of possibly dangerous heaters. 

There are over 100 students in this building who pay $3,185 a semester to live here. We chose this building because it is marketed as a nicer, upperclassman dorm. We are upset because we pay a large chunk of money each semester to deal with continuous issues. At this point, we are fed up. We can't keep dealing with issue after issue. We are cold, tired, and demand something to be done.

McLean Hall residents deserve some form of compensation for the grievances and now suffering we have been dealing with. There is no reason a school this expensive, with a residence hall that costs $3,185 a semester to live in, should be treating its students this way. This could have been prevented. This is the final straw.

We the residents of McLean Hall demand financial compensation from Western Kentucky University for neglecting to provide us livable housing. 

DO BETTER Western Kentucky University.


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Signatures: 297Next Goal: 500
Support now