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Mice, mold, water outages: Housing issues raise concerns for MSU students

Morgan View Apartments.

Alyssa Evans

Following Thurgood Marshall Hall’s recent water debacle, students voice their less-than-satisfactory experiences in other residence halls.

By Journey Burris and Danielle Linkins with SGJC Student News Network

Though the school’s spring semester has barely reached its midway point, Morgan State University students have complained of housing issues in their on and off-campus residences.

Students have allegedly experienced flooding, mold, inconsistent hot water, mouse infestations and power outages. University officials say they’re aware of student concerns and are working to address them. Until then, students continue to submit complaints about the current state of their housing assignments.

Kadiesha Storhart, junior fine arts major, has lived in the same building at Morgan View Apartments, an off-campus apartment complex that rents to Morgan students, since her freshman year. During her sophomore year, she and her roommate complained of holes in their closets and later had to request that their rooms be inspected for the pest problem.

After maintenance filled the holes, Stohart and her roommate continued to notice signs of mouse droppings. The problem went away during winter break and Storhart’s cat has since killed the last mouse. “I haven’t heard or seen any mice [since then],” she said.

Junior graphic design major Christopher Stephens spoke about his experiences with flooding of the laundry rooms in his building at Morgan View.

“[The laundry machines have] flooded multiple times. [They’ve] shut down and doors have been broken off of the machines where it’s flooded. It took them maybe a month and a half to fix the laundry room,” he said.

Morgan View’s washing machines. (Alyssa Evans)
Morgan View’s washing machines. (Alyssa Evans)

But mice and laundry room floods are not the only hazards plaguing the Morgan View community. According to Storhart, elevator signs placed throughout the complex recommended that residents leave their restroom doors open to prevent the spread of mold in their rooms. The signs have since been removed.

Other housing residents have experienced inconsistent water service.

Nakyra Walker, freshman biomedical science major, routinely deals with her building’s erratic water temperatures. She lives in Blount Towers, an all-girls freshman dormitory on the school’s campus.

“The water will sometimes be hot and after 10 minutes it will get cold. If someone was in the shower before you and you get in right after them, it is extremely cold to the point where you can’t take a comfortable shower,” she said.

Blount Towers Apartments, an all-girls freshman dorm. (Alyssa Evans)
Blount Towers Apartments, an all-girls freshman dorm. (Alyssa Evans)

But student concerns don’t stop at Blount and Morgan View. Residents of Marble Hall Gardens Apartments, another off-campus apartment complex, and Thurgood Marshall Apartments, an on-campus housing facility, have also had experiences with housing hiccups.

Malcolm Swang, junior multiplatform production major and Marble Hall Gardens resident, has lived at the property since last August. He’s complained about his room’s lack of hot water since the semester began in January.

“It’s gotten to the point in the morning where a lot of times I would have to time just right when I know nobody else is using the water and that’s the only way where I can get it to be as hot as I want,” he said.

Despite Swang’s off-campus housing status, his concerns closely mirror that of an on-campus student. Santo Lewis, a freshman marketing and fashion merchandising major living at Thurgood Marshall Apartments, says his building was without hot water for a prolonged period of time, but was notified by a resident director beforehand.

“I used the ice-cold water when it was there. When there was [little to] no water, I used the remaining bit that was still inside of the pipes that was good enough for at least one shower,” he said.

The newly constructed Legacy Hall (left) and Thurgood Marshall Apartments (right), Morgan’s newest dormitory. (Alyssa Evans)
The newly constructed Legacy Hall (left) and Thurgood Marshall Apartments (right), Morgan’s newest dormitory. (Alyssa Evans)

The apartment’s residents were left with intermittent hot water as early as Feb. 3. Despite repair attempts, the problem persisted until temporary boilers arrived on Feb. 9, after which the hot water was fully restored.

The issue was caused by the failure of two of the four water boilers in the building. According to Lewis, residents had to go to other dorms to shower.

“[We have learned to] prepare for the worst and overcome the worst. That’s what we did at Thurgood,” he said.

Douglas Gwynn, director of the university’s Office of Residence Life and Housing, says that he has responded to student housing concerns and assures that his team is doing everything possible to provide excellent living conditions to students.

“We have also looked at what we’re going to be putting in Legacy Hall (a newly built residence hall across from Thurgood Marshall Apartments that plans to open this fall) in an effort to ensure that this type of [water] failure does not happen again.”

Gwynn believes that it is important that students have a quality, supportive experience within residential facilities. He says he acknowledges the students’ critiques and strongly advises them to report any maintenance concerns in their housing complaints.

“It’s extremely important to us that we encourage our students to use the mechanisms that we have provided for them to execute maintenance requests or any questions that they may have if they are not satisfied. They’re welcome to send an email. We are very responsive.”