News | Student Life

John Jay residents up in arms over broken elevator, bathroom cleanliness

Students living in John Jay Hall are disgruntled about the way that Housing and Facilities have responded to complaints about a frequently broken elevator and sanitation issues.

After one of the two elevators servicing John Jay’s 467 residents broke down during finals season in December, Housing and Facilities have repeatedly pushed back their projections for when the elevator would be fixed.

Moreover, the single working elevator only serves floors one through 13—leaving residents of 14 and 15 with a trek in addition to the long wait.

Facilities expects the broken car to be back up and running by the end of the month.

“We initially thought it would be a quicker repair, but as we investigated further, it became clear that custom parts needed to be manufactured, which, unfortunately, can take some time,” Facilities spokesperson Dan Held said.

He said that Facilities has been working with Housing to keep residents informed on the situation, with email updates sent to all residents on Jan. 18 and Jan. 28 and notifications sent to the building’s resident advisers.

Yelnats Calvin, CC ’16 and a resident of the 13th floor, said that he was frustrated with the way the situation has been handled.

“It gives off the impression of incompetence,” he said. “According to the last update, the elevator was supposed to be fixed by last Thursday. That obviously has not happened.”

Other students, however, said they understood why the repairs were taking longer than promised.

Alexys Leija, CC ’16 and a resident of the eighth floor, said the elevator repairs are more complicated than they appear.

“I can see why people think they responded very well. But understanding the whole situation, I think they could have responded a little better at the beginning, but I don’t think there’s much more that they can do,” she said.

Besides the delay in the elevator repairs, students have also reported a slew of unaddressed bathroom sanitation issues in recent months, including plumbing problems and overflowing trash cans.

“Every week you go in, and one of the toilets is blocked or it’s flooded. There’s been blood on the floor and sick in the showers,” Olivia Sadler, CC ’16 and a resident of the fifth floor, said. “There’s always, like, one toilet you can’t use out of three.”

Her RA has been taking pictures of the sanitation issues and sending them to Facilities. While Sadler notes that the messes have been cleaned after requests have been filed, by the next day, the problems are back again. She believes that the problem may be in the plumbing.

Julia Goodman, CC ’16, said that she has observed problems on the eighth floor as well.

“The girls’ bathrooms can get really disgusting. A few people have tried to fix it by putting up sassy signs about bathroom etiquette, which sometimes works, but the maintenance people have kind of gotten fed up with us,” she said. “They left a plunger in the bathroom and don’t really clean the floors anymore. When they come in for regular cleaning, maybe every other time they fully clean it.”

The administration has again been working with RAs to monitor these issues. In a Housing, Residential Programs, and Facilities production meeting last week, RAs reported floor maintenance problems that were immediately addressed and monitored by custodians, according to Housing spokesperson Kristina Hernandez.

Hernandez said in an email that all requests made to Facilities relating to custodial and maintenance issues in John Jay had been addressed.

While acknowledging that some issues like plumbing can be addressed only by Facilities, she stressed that other sanitation problems can be more easily resolved with the help of resident cooperation.

“Housing and Residential Programs staff are working together to communicate with residents about how to submit a work order, what can/cannot be placed in toilets to avoid plumbing problems, as well as general tips to keep a clean living environment for the entire residential community,” Hernandez said.

With regard to the broken elevator situation, Held said that the administration understands student frustrations and appreciated residents’ patience.

Rakhi Agrawal contributed reporting. | @ColumbiaSpec


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rick131 posted on

There are no elevators for the maintenance people to use.

Anonymous posted on

That is simply untrue. The maintenance people use the override feature for the one remaining elevator so that nobody, EXCEPT the maintenance people have an elevator to use.

Anonymous posted on

$50,000 and they can't fix a fucking elevator.

Roar Damn Lion.

Anonymous posted on

As someone who lived on the 8th floor of John Jay I can tell you that the bathroom flooding was a constant problem last year as well. I constantly went to the hospitality desk and filed maintenance requests. Instead of repairs being made to the bathrooms, the floors were simply mopped, so that most of the year we only had 1-2 working stalls. Columbia needs to own up to the fact that John Jay is cannot go one more summer under the HS summer program. They need to put those kids somewhere else, fix John Jay and make major repairs. We are the ones that suffer from the fact that they wont close John Jay for ONE summer.

Anonymous posted on

Yelnats? Like, Stanley Yelnats?