Voices on The Quad: Students Talk Housing Issues

By Jilleen Barrett, Features Editor/Managing Editor

The middle of spring semester always means arranging plans for the next school year, and one of the major discussions on campus right now amongst sophomores and juniors is whether or not to continue living in residence halls.

Many issues regarding Residence Life and Physical Plant have been brought up during these discussions. These issues range from the inconvenience of the bridges outside Lee and Horan Halls being closed, to the limited hours in Locke’s Loft dining hall, to the ceiling damage in Overlook Manor.

Zach Olivan ’22, the vice president of residential affairs, spoke to The Quadrangle about which issues relate to residence life and which ones should be handled by Physical Plant.

“It is well known within the community that there have been infrastructure and building integrity issues in Overlook Manor (OV), however, I must clarify that these are not related to problems with Residence Life,” Olivan said. “Building related issues ultimately fall under the responsibility of Physical Plant. That said, Residence Life works closely with Physical Plant to make sure such problems are addressed properly and with care.”

A resident assistant in Horan Hall, Olivan has lived on campus for four years and believes it has improved his quality of life at Manhattan College.

“Ultimately, students’ decisions to move off campus is one that is their own,” Olivan said. “What I can say, however, is that the department of Residence Life is constantly striving to improve the quality of student on-campus housing here at Manhattan College within the limits of local, state and community guidelines.” 

Though Olivan may feel positively about the improvement of current issues surrounding this aspect of campus life, some other students do not feel the same way. Three returning Manhattan College students spoke about their current housing situation and how they chose their housing plans for the next school year.

Reese Holister ’23

Reese Hollister ’23

Current housing: Overlook Manor

Housing plans for next year: to homestead his current apartment in Overlook Manor

What kinds of issues have you experienced while living in the residence halls?

This school year, my roommates and I have had problems with both OV’s infrastructure and communication. Originally the four of us lived in 6M, but weeks of leakage and water damage caused my and [my roommate’s] bedroom ceiling to collapse from underneath, on Nov. 3. 

I spent that entire day emailing Physical Plant and Resident Life demanding relocation before the ceiling fell. We were forced to move all of our things and completely relocate to [room number redacted], unsure if we would get to go back. Physical plant started work the next day. We were not granted any form of compensation (the same is true when our refrigerator broke and all of our food spoiled, I demanded compensation for the value lost, but they did not even address that point).

We thought that would be the end of our problems, but Residence Life had repeatedly emailed us letting us know that because [room number redacted], a room we four were forced into due to the school’s neglect, was a 5-man, they could plant a fifth stranger in with our core four. This continues until today, and we are expected to get a fifth man in a room arrangement we could not consent to.

Still, we plan to live here in the fall next year. We like our space, and we have made it our home. The four of us tend to agree that moving off campus is not worth the hassle that we see so many of our friends go through. Call it the path of least resistance. 

Lauren Kawecki ’24

Lauren Kaweki ’24

Current housing: Lee Hall

Housing plans for next year: to live in an off-campus apartment

What kinds of issues in the residence halls motivated you to move off campus?

You’re paying a lot for not a lot of great stuff [in Manhattan housing] — like yes, you get the meal plan, but the food’s not good. And yes, you get a room but it’s not really nice either. And then just like as far as inconveniences … [Residence Life] closing down the dorms was really inconvenient for me. I live across the country, so there were exceptions for me, [but] it was just inconvenient because a lot of times they make us move into Horan so we’re not technically staying in our room. So that was always really annoying for breaks and stuff … That happened to my roommates last semester. They had gone through the process of filling out the break room request and then they got denied and then they didn’t know what to do.

What made you decide to live in an apartment instead of a residence hall next year? Why not live in Overlook Manor?

The videos of people’s ceilings caving in, the talks of rats on the first floor, the windows not being able to lock … those are all safety concerns.

Brylee Watkins ’24

Brylee Watkins ’24

Current housing: Lee Hall

Housing plans for next year: to live in an off-campus apartment

Have you ever had any issues with your room that were addressed by Physical Plant? How were they handled?

A lot of times [during] my freshman year our shower would back up and there were a few days where the shower was putting out brown water, which was really disgusting … our toilet would leak a lot … Physical Plant eventually got to [fix the toilet], but it took like, a week.

What made you decide to live in an apartment instead of a residence hall next year? Why not live in Overlook Manor?

The videos of the rats and the ceilings caving in … I don’t want that to happen in my room. I don’t want to deal with that.