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A pattern of forgotten student concerns

A broken pipe leaves more damage on university’s reputation than on dorms

Published: Sunday, February 2, 2014

Updated: Sunday, February 2, 2014 20:02

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Art by Amber Sliter, The Spectrum

A callous response to issues facing students appears to be the default for campus administrators. Following the pipes bursting in Ellicott Complex over winter break, flooding several dorms, UB officials stated the importance of students purchasing their own renter’s insurance.

One student impacted by the issue made a point indicative of a trend: she thought insurance would be included in the slew of fees involved in dorming and attending the university.

The issue of UB’s myriad fees, and the bizarre euphemisms shrouding what they actually are, has been a common refrain. There’s a disconnect between offices such as Campus Living, which has such an integral role in students’ lives, and the students themselves that continues to go unaddressed.

This issue is just another articulation of a common problem plaguing UB – a communicative mismatch between officials and students, and the deleterious effects that result when problems inevitably arise.

The fact that none of the residents interviewed had renter’s insurance is less of a reflection on the newly independent students than it is on the officials responsible for educating and guiding students into independent living. That some would erroneously think the insurance was included in the other fees they pay only emphasizes this.

That Campus Living waits until issues arise, as opposed to being proactive about problems, speaks to an unsurprising, though troubling, trend across the campus. Though far less serious, this story seems reminiscent of the carbon monoxide leak last year that prompted safety changes throughout the dorms.

Freezing pipes during the coldest months of the year and carbon monoxide leaking – these are not abnormal or spectacular problems. These are generally predictable and relatively common. What is abnormal is that the organization charged with housing and serving the needs of thousands of on-campus students would conduct itself in such a disgraceful manner.

UB has already proved itself unresponsive to the needs of students living off-campus, particularly in the University Heights neighborhood, as if on-campus students would receive better treatment.

Campus Living and UB administration need to better inform students coming into the dorms on renter’s insurance and other necessities before they move in, and before issues arise.

Further, older buildings around the campus should be inspected and rigorously checked for compliance with safety codes – and potential future issues.

UB’s growth and development pursuing UB 2020 has been admirable, and it will certainly bring prestige to the university and benefits for future students. The myopia that accompanies this ambition toward current students, however, is what must change.

The university and its departments can no longer remain blind to problems that exist outside Greiner Hall and the downtown medical campus. Problems have and will continue to arise in the aging building stock of this university, and until attention is shifted to dealing with those, this trend will likely continue.

Attention to fixing and updating outdated buildings in a measured, proactive way is necessary. And when a pipe bursts, a preventable and foreseeable inconvenience, a sincerely apologetic tone may prove more effective at retaining residents than apathy.

 

email: editorial@ubspectrum.com

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2 comments

Anonymous
Fri Feb 7 2014 09:13
chances are, if you're living in the dorms and on campus, and your parents have home owners insurance, your stuff in your doom should still be covered under your parent's policy
Anon123
Mon Feb 3 2014 15:25
"The fact that none of the residents interviewed had renter's insurance is less of a reflection on the newly independent students than it is on the officials responsible for educating and guiding students into independent living. That some would erroneously think the insurance was included in the other fees they pay only emphasizes this."

Am I crazy for thinking that students and parents should be asking questions and researching things they do not understand/know about. I remember asking about renters insurance when I first came to UB....and seeing flyers from companies (State Farm maybe?)

The future looks bleak if the current generation is just going to throw their hands up in the air and proclaim "I didn't know, so it's not my fault, it's your fault for not telling me!" (Which UB actually does on the check-in page) http://www.student-affairs.buffalo.edu/housing/checkin.php

As I posted on the article detailing the flood over winter session, this serves as ammunition for UB to mandate the purchase of renter's insurance for all on-campus residents and then I'm sure there will complaints of a newly added fee.

The last I checked...students live OFF-CAMPUS because they want to be personally responsible for themselves and get away from the rules & regulations of Campus Living.

At some point you have to take responsibility for your actions or lack thereof, also know as taking the L (that's "Loss" for the uninformed), or even better....Live, love laugh AND Learn.





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