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In the life of a reporter, there are many regrets. Mine comes from an article I wrote last semester for The State Press about a damaged sprinkler system displacing residents last February in Hassayampa Academic Village on account of copious amounts of water.

I called this happening a “flood.” Oops.

In an e-mail from Susan Walker, spokeswoman for ASU Residential Life, my diction was critiqued. “My preference is not to refer to this as a flood, even though you continue to do so. The water was the result of a damaged (not faulty) sprinkler head, and there is no need to put a negative spin on it.,” she said.

She was right, it was a shameful act on my part to call such a deluge of an aqueous liquid substance containing two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen covering the ground and making the affected areas uninhabitable a “flood.” Stupid!

But in reality, it is my true regret, prior to investigating ResLife’s response to this situation, I did not see ResLife as the incompetent organization it is, an organization in dire need of some change.

“The toilet in the men's lobby restroom does not appear to be flushing properly and someone had explosive digestion issues. Please save us! Thank you.”

Disgusting, but true, this is one of the many concerning maintenance requests — available through the department’s Web site — sent to ASU ResLife.

Including the recent flooding of Best Hall C, and ‘the flood’ — I mean gentle trickling of water — last year in HAV, the maintenance requests have been coming in by the hundreds to ResLife. This should be an indication to ResLife of their shoddy service. It angers and appalls me almost daily.

As a student who has lived in the dorms, I am quite aware that they are inhabited only for the convenience of living on campus and not for high style. But ResLife has failed to provide many students with the quality of life for which they are paying.

In many ways, the conditions students pay to live in are inexcusable and impede students’ health and ability to learn.

In Cholla apartments — one of the most expensive residence halls — students have complained about crickets, clogged air vents, doors that get stuck or won’t close, mold and broken air conditioners and many of these requests have been submitted multiple times for the same problems.

It’s one thing to have several requests for a light bulb change (and there are a ton of those), but mold is quite another.

And broken AC units are no joke when the name of the school you attend starts with “Arizona.”

Last year, residents living in Best C complained about the state of the rooms they were living in.

According to an article in The State Press last March a “puddle of goo, leaky showers [and] mold” were amongst the complaints residents had.

“In most cases, [maintenance] emergencies are handled in an hour or less and non-emergencies within on business day,” said Walker in a more recent e-mail. “Where parts have to be ordered or a more thorough investigation of the problem needs to take place to insure the repair is correct or proper [service] may take longer.”

While I’d like to take Walker’s word, the “Residential Facilities Management Department is committed to delivering timely, continuous and efficient customer service and to providing well-maintained student housing facilities,” given what I personally have seen in my own complex and read about in maintenance requests from around the campus, I simply cannot.

Instead, I am personally offended that ResLife would even bother making a claim that is ridiculous at best.

Last week’s flood in Best C was instigated by the sprinkler system, and while the fire department showed up, it took them a while to turn off the water main because the floor plan to the building was not available.

Ironically, the blueprints were also not available last year when brown goo seeped through the floor in March.

So … six months to not find a blue print of a building? Yup, that looks like a pretty decent response time to me.

And as though Best Hall doesn’t have enough problems, when the carpet in a Community Assistant’s room had to be torn up last year to remove mold, residents were notified that asbestos, a cancer-causing agent, had also been disturbed.

“All [ResLife] did was put up a tiny plastic screen,” said Brandon Jones, a junior who lived on that floor last year. Jones is one of several students who said they felt sick after the asbestos had been disturbed. Jones felt ill enough to move out of the dorms, but was not let out of his contract and, as a result, continued to pay for his dorm room, as well as off campus housing.

He said ResLife’s response to his claim was “dismissive” with a “shut up and stop whining” tone and living facilities were “substandard.”

While I have been fortunate in my dorm assignment of a fairly new building, it is certainly not without errors. We were without toilet paper in half of the bathroom stalls for three days, not to mention a shower refuses to drain, though I know many maintenance request were put in last year.

If the bathroom wasn’t so generally disgusting (I’m talking black gunk in the shower stalls), it would almost be easier for me to take a bath.

So, does it really take that long to order parts, or is student health and safety not a huge concern for ResLife?

Maybe instead of actually fixing the plethora of water issues (floods, leaky air conditioners, constantly flushing toilets, broken showers) ResLife should invest in building an ark.

Then again, Noah and the animals probably got a break from the water before the residents at ASU will. Good thing ASU is really concerned about being sustainable.

While I understand no facility, especially one inhabited by college age students, will be perfect, is it really too much to expect prompt response to problems that can severely affect the health of our students?

Perhaps the whole system needs to be reworked. More staff needs to be devoted to recognizing and solving maintenance issues. ResLife should not be a cold, faceless entity, and if nothing else, the students — their customers — should at least be treated with respect and given the service they pay for.

Or maybe we can at least strive to get some toilet paper. I figure the $1,118 per year per resident that goes to “maintenance, custodial, and other related services,” according to Walker, should at least cover that.

Sure, living on campus is eye opening and convenient, but when you’re given mold instead of toilet paper and sass instead of service, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your options.

Maybe ASU should do the same.

Indra is getting a kick out of reading maintenance requests. To complain about your exploding toilet, e-mail her at

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