Students fed up with their on-campus living conditions piled into the Palmetto Phase III Assembly Room Thursday with hopes to spark change.
The Residence Hall Association, who held the forum to address the concerns of students, opened with the introduction of the housing board that led to a question and answer period.
Many students voiced their unease about the sanitation of the bathrooms in the dorms.
“The bathrooms are not completely sanitized. They don’t clean the toilets out, trash overflows, mold is everywhere and it smells bad,” said Chanel Dean, a 19-year-old nursing student from Jacksonville.
Dean, who lives in Cropper Hall, recalled the sink falling off the wall and hitting her in the head. She said she believes the sink fell because mold had been built up behind it.
“I am leaving the dorms and going to The Exchange. You go to TCC and FSU and you don’t see these things. And I’m sure they pay the same amount of money,” she said.
Members of the RHA said they hope that leaving campus will not be an option for all students.
Jasmin Ausley, 21, the president of RHA, wanted students and the faculty to improve the communication lines so that some changes can be made in on-campus housing.
“This organization wants to bridge the gap between students and housing. This is an opportunity for you to voice your opinion. We want to bring students back on campus. We want to make dorms fun to live in,” said Ausley, a nursing student from Lawton, Okla.
Students expressed other concerns at the forum such as the desire for cable installation in the dorms.
“We don’t have cable in Gibbs Hall. So, most students have to go downstairs to watch television. But as soon as someone curses, the staff turns the television off,” said Dominique Carter, a civil engineering student from Washington D.C.
Carter, 18, said it isn’t fair when the television is turned off because a few people don’t know how to act.
In response to Carter’s comment, the housing department said it will try to pinpoint who is causing the trouble and not punish everyone.
Despite complaints hurled at the housing department, students did have some positive thoughts regarding where they live.
“Even though the bedrooms are too small for what we pay and the building shakes sometimes…we do have cable, brand new washers and dryers, and we have some privacy,” said Bryan Mitchell, a 19-year-old theatre student from Miami.
Mitchell, who lives in University Gardens, said his resident advisor always listens to complaints and responds quickly.
“They may have had forums addressing these issues in the past, but there was never an association to bridge the gap between students and faculty,” Mitchell said.
In response to the students’ worries, Bernard Kelly, the assistant housing director, said he believes there will be changes.
He also said he wants students to feel at ease and not hesitate to voice the positive and negative aspects of housing.
“Not only voice your complaints, but give us compliments also,” he said.
“I would like them to communicate with us. It is never our intent to deceive anybody. I give my word that things will be done or somebody will lose their job. I feel just that strongly about the situation,” Kelly said.
Members of the RHA said they want to encourage students to join the organization because it is an opportunity for students to voice their opinions and participate in a group that constantly seeks change for students.
The next housing forum will be in Gibbs Hall with a tentative date set for the end of February.
Contact Sarah Chester at firstname.lastname@example.org