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Students discontented with housing conditions in PPR

in Around Campus/News by

The state of facilities of PPR have some residents expressing their discontent. The three building complex with a combined population of 116 students, home to mainly sophomores and juniors, is located not far from the construction of NPPR, which is set to be open for use in the upcoming semester. Some of the issues encountered by residents of the current complex, the most alarming being poor water quality, are thought to be attributed to the ongoing construction.

Jeffrey Tse ’19, a Green Advisor in Roberts, explained his discontent about living in his residence hall.

I dislike Roberts and don’t spend much time there. The floors and walls are peeling and old. My blinds don’t cover the entire window and don’t really work. The radiators make a lot of noise and are awful. The basement is disgusting.  It’s big which is nice, lots of space and the bathroom, albeit dirty is okay,” he said.

Daniel Siegelman ’19, another current Roberts resident, had mixed feelings.

“The bathrooms are kind of gross. It’s nice to have a personal bathroom, but it’s kind of moldy and not particularly nice, but whatever. There’s holes in some of the walls, but you can’t really do much about that,” he said.

Ty Clay ’18, a current resident of Dana, recounted his experience of living in Palmer last year as less than enjoyable.

“I didn’t like living in Palmer. There was no hall life: it was exceptionally quiet and it was absurdly hot. One time I almost had a heat stroke because it was just really hot. Around the first month or so we had to have four fans running at all times,” he said.

Clay went on to talk about an experience he said in regards to faulty pipes.

“[I] …didn’t really experience any mice or any bugs at all, and I lived very sloppily. Occasionally the pipes would howl. There was this one time where most of the people in our building had an investigation… we spent like 30 minutes wondering if we should call the cops or bust into someone’s room, but it was just the pipes,” he said.

Shortly after spring break when Roberts residents opened the taps in their bathrooms, the water either ran brown or didn’t flow at all.

I woke up in the morning and tried to get tap water, but all that came out was brown water. I left earlier, but my friends says that there was no water later,” Tse said.

Siegelman also experienced the same issue, explaining that it came with no prior warning.

“I turned on the tap and the water coming out was brown colored. I didn’t get an email about it, but apparently there was an email sent out about it to people who lived in Palmer and Pittenger saying that there was going to be some construction work and that it was going to affect the pipes. Roberts residents I don’t think received it, so it was a little surprising to turn on the tap and see brown water,” he said.

Unlike Roberts, residents in Pittenger and Palmer were forewarned about the change in water quality via email.

Neither Tse nor Siegelman contacted Swarthmore personnel to attend to the issue, as they assumed the issue would be temporary and would be resolved in time.

“I didn’t contact anyone because I figured it was probably just a temporary thing because I know they’re doing construction at New PPR. I went out to go to the gym and when I came back the water was totally fine. It would’ve been nice to receive an email about it, but it was a temporary thing,” Siegelman said.

Another Roberts resident, Maxine Annoh ’18, did not experience any changes in her water quality, despite her being on campus for the duration of break and the weeks that followed.

“That was not my experience, honey. After break, really? I don’t know what I was doing, but I didn’t see any brown water coming from my tap, and I was there the entire break, so I don’t know … Maybe I just wasn’t showering. But I was. I didn’t experience this,” she said.

There is no clear explanation as for why some residents in Roberts were affected by change in water quality while others were not. On the issue concerning the lack of a formal warning, Isaiah Thomas was contacted for comment but ultimately could not be reached. The problem with the water quality, however, has since been resolved.


Roberts residents find evidence of unauthorized access

in Around Campus/News by

At least seven residents of Roberts Hall found evidence of unauthorized access to their rooms and reported items missing to Public Safety upon returning from winter break.

According to Director of Public Safety Mike Hill, Public Safety officers responded to one report of an incident regarding unauthorized access to a room in Roberts on January 15. The complainant told the officers there were several missing items from their room, but that they were not items of high monetary value and said they did not want police involvement. By January 18, Public Safety had received six more reports of unauthorized access, including additional reports of stolen items. Hill noted that there were no signs of forced entry in any of the reported incidents.

Emily Cai ‘18, a Roberts resident, did not realize that her body pillow and one of her blankets were missing until she began to unpack her things from winter break. When she realized her items were missing, she immediately called Public Safety.

“I found out that the window lock was broken, so it’s very possible they pushed it open and walked in,” she said.

Cai texted her roommate, Emilie Shepherd ‘18, who was off campus at the time of the incident, about the items when she discovered they were missing.

“When I got back, I saw a couple other weird things, there was a chalky debris on one of the desks and my books had been pushed forward. It looked like someone had stepped over them from the window. It was vaguely unsettling to think that somebody had just easily gotten into our room,” she said.

Several students noted that the items stolen were not of high value, and that the method in which things were stolen or moved was unusual.

“Two of my blankets were taken as well as my roommate’s pillow. The weirdest thing is that my baseball glove was moved — but not taken — and our bath mat was folded up and put in our trash can. Our TV was also angled differently than we had left it,” Roberts resident Cal Barnett-Mayotte ‘18 said in an email. He said bedding was stolen from other rooms, and speculated that the intruders may have been homeless.

Other students reported that their items were moved or disturbed, but that nothing was taken. David Holmgren ‘18 said that his guitar was removed from its case and that it appeared to have been tuned by whomever gained access to Roberts.

“As amazing as it would be for my guitar to stay in tune for all of break, I find it difficult to believe,” he said in an email.

Students had mixed reactions to Public Safety’s response to the incident. Barnett-Mayotte said that they when they arrived at Roberts, they came and asked what was stolen and for an estimate of the total value.

“Pub Safe was very professional in their response but they were equally confused [as we were,]” he said.

Shepherd said that Public Safety appeared to be doing everything that it could in response to the incident. “A Public Safety officer was [at Roberts in] fifteen minutes at midnight on a Tuesday, so they were there really promptly… but I obviously wish it didn’t happen and I don’t think it should have been able to happen,” she said.

Cai thought that Public Safety’s response was very helpful. She explained how a Public Safety officer showed her how to secure her windows after the incident and took notes on the incident.

“I still feel pretty secure in the hall, now that everybody is back,” Cai said.

The persons responsible for the unauthorized access in Roberts are still at large, and it does not appear that they will be apprehended soon.

“Unfortunately, at this point there is no available information on the identity of the perpetrators and no further action can be taken. Of course if anyone has any information that might help us identify the responsible party we welcome it,” Hill said.

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