‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through Williams Hall, not a student was studying, not even a Zoom call. The students were mostly home and relaxing with self-care, in hopes that their dorms would be safe until they got back there.
The students were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of Rocky the Red Hawk danced in their heads. But little did they know a pipe had just burst. Now they wonder after their belongings were damaged if they will be reimbursed.
Montclair State University spread some holiday cheer on Christmas Day as students received an email that a pipe burst in Williams Hall, leaving extensive water damage in several apartments.
Residence Life (ResLife) at Montclair State relocated students living in Williams to various other housing options on campus and allowed anyone who didn’t have winter housing to come into the building during certain hours and collect any valuables out of their rooms.
In a nice gesture, ResLife granted free meals to those relocated during winter break.
However, in a not-so-nice gesture, students returned to their apartments after winter break to find a variety of their items broken or mishandled, as well as garbage not belonging to them.
Is this really how Montclair State wants to treat students who pay $5,500 to $6,224 a semester just to live there?
In addition to the carelessness displayed in students’ rooms, students were also blindsided after hopeful updates throughout their winter break.
On Dec. 28, students received a follow-up email from ResLife stating, “At this time the building remains closed to all residents. We will update students once we are able to allow them to return to their room and be able to occupy it.”
Williams Hall occupants then patiently waited for an email detailing their housing situation. Students heard back on Jan. 6 saying that they anticipate students being able to move back in on Jan. 15. However, that was only what they hoped, not the official word.
Then, just only two days before the anticipated move-in date, students received another email stating that construction will take another three weeks and occupants will be relocated throughout campus. Some were even permanently relocated.
Seniors and juniors who lived in student luxury and were blessed with personal bathrooms, a kitchen, a living room and single rooms were now sent back to the dorms they worked so hard to escape. Communal bathrooms, dining hall food and double rooms are not the best starts to what is some students’ last semester here.
Students now live in undesirable housing, missing their rooms, while being forced to replace damaged belongings. Some are even asking themselves why there was a Pepsi left in their freezer when they are a Coca-Cola household.
Montclair State, on behalf of The Montclarion staff who lived in Williams Hall and the rest who are just sympathetic to the situation, the aftermath of the burst pipe needed to be handled better.
Understandably, things were damaged due to the pipe burst and maybe things got out of control while construction was happening, but to leave people’s apartments with broken items is unacceptable.
And to have students’ property go missing such as jewelry and a Marcel the Shell figurine is absolutely ridiculous.
Even if they were damaged by the water, they should have been left there for the residents to decide whether they wanted to throw them out or not. Residents should not have to worry about their items being messed with or their rooms being a disaster when repairs were being made.
Montclair State, will you fully reimburse students who have lost or broken personal belongings? Will you fully reimburse students’ housing bill for the time lost in their apartments as they are paying to live in a nice on-campus apartment and not a freshman dorm in Freeman? And lastly, will you promise that in the future students don’t have to worry about leaving their property in university housing when a disaster occurs?
Hopefully, all of these will be answered with a sincere “yes.” But until then, we await to see what steps Montclair State will take to right its wrongs.