Students say housing conditions vary by dorm

Florida A&M University students are letting their voices be heard about how clean the dorms are on campus.

Students from dorms such as Gibbs, Paddyfote, McGuinn and Palmetto North all agreed that dorm sanitation is a problem and that serious renovation or new dorms are the only solutions to the issue.

Senior allied health student and former Diamond and Truth Hall resident Latisha Lewis, 22, from Tampa, recalled mold and bathroom problems during her stay on campus two years ago.

“There was mold in both rooms I stayed in,” Lewis said. “Sometimes the bathroom workers would go on strike for a week and we would run out of paper towels and tissue. It was unsanitary.”

Male students are also complaining about the unsanitary conditions of their dorms.

Jeffery Sims, 20, a junior history education student from Orlando, was a resident of Gibbs Hall during his freshman year.

“Bathrooms were never clean,” Sims said. “Trash was always overflowing and there was always odor in the hallways and restrooms.”

Unlike Lewis, Sims does not think custodians are the problem.

“There were always custodians,” Sims said, “but there is only so much you can do when there are people coming behind them making more mess, like the residents.”

Both Lewis and Sims said they experienced the same response when reporting the conditions – none.

Lewis said, “They (housing staff) would drag their feet about coming out, and when they finally got there, a half-done job would get done.”

Similarly, Sims said, “Not much would get done when I made complaints to housing.”

Current FAMU dorm residents have complaints similar to those of former residents.

Palmetto North resident Kerian Cox, 19, a freshman music education student from Tallahassee, finds his off-campus apartment living conditions much better than those of campus dorm residents, such as more personal living space. But Cox still experienced problems off campus.

“Me and my roommates went to the housing office about a broken toilet and they said they would get right on it,” he said. “We ended up fixing it ourselves.”

As far as the living conditions, Cox admitted “they could be better,” and that he wishes he had stayed home.

But not all students are upset with dorm cleanliness, or lack thereof.

Jamarko Layce, 18, a freshman criminal justice student from Opt, Ala., found his dorm, Paddyfote, “clean to (his) surprise, in comparison to other dorms.”

Layce, who does not have mold or restroom issues to deal with, is still concerned about there being two people per room. He offers his suggestions for renovation and improvement of all dorms.

“Maybe some of the money for Paddyfote can go towards renovating Sampson-Young and more people can live there,” Layce said. “And even though they do inspections on a regular basis, maybe they can check for more than made-up beds. (They should do more checks for) mold and electricity working.”

Layce said he had a hard time getting the housing department to do something about his electricity, which was not working. After reporting it not working in late August 2007, he finally got it fixed after Thanksgiving break.

McGuinn resident Andrea Burkes, 19, a freshman pharmacy student from Tallahassee, has mold issues, but has not reported it.

“I could tell when I first moved in that there was mold in the walls because my nose is so sensitive,” Burkes said. “I haven’t reported anything about it because it’s in the walls, so what can they do? I just got used to it.”

Burkes said unsanitary conditions existed when she arrived in the fall, but improvements have been made after floor meetings.

“Overall,” Burkes said, “I am satisfied with my move on campus even though I’m from here because of the experience I get in all. But new dorms are necessary.”

Housing Director Isaac Brundage was unavailable for comment.