Some 335 supporters of the FSC Students for Change petition to “Improve Student Living Conditions ” signed an online document to voice their concerns about student living conditions on the Florida Southern Campus.
The petition states that students have been developed cases of athsma, bronchitis, nasal congestion, eye irritation and skin irritations due to living conditions, “rotting animal corpses left in walls after fumigation” and unclean living quarters.
A student comment on the Students for Change petition listed a detailed experience with housing complications through out their academic career. They said, “I have loved my academic experience here at FSC and I’ve made great friends and I enjoy being a part of Greek life, but for the amount of money we spend on housing, the living qualities are horrendous.”
Bill Langston, Dean of Student Development, explained his concerns for student well being.
“I think that anytime we see something where students are expressing concern with anything in regard to the college, whether it be something to do with the academic experience… we obviously are concerned as an institution because our goal is for students to have a wonderfully positive experience in all facets and aspects of their college experience,” Langston said.
Langston and staff are continually working to address student concerns.
“We got together collectively as an administration with some ideas of how we could come at this,” Langston said. “Not just in terms of responding to student concerns, but how we could use this as an opportunity to educate students about what our process is.”
Once a work order is submitted, it goes into a queue at facilities matinee and they assign it to the proper division, such as plumbing or extermination. They address them as quickly as possible; however, smaller problems will be put on hold if emergencies occur.
Community Living doesn’t know about a problem if it’s not noted in a work order. Langston promised that within 24 to 48 hours issues will be addressed.
This year, Community Living hired an assistant director for operations whose primary role is to manage housing selection, work with maintenance and the submission of work orders. Once facilities close-out a work order Community Living will assign a hall director or resident advisor to follow up on the project.
“What I think ultimately is happening is that students don’t know about the process [work orders] and perhaps we need to do a better job about educating students about addressing problems in their room,” Langston said. “The petition is obviously something that this college takes seriously because we don’t want students to feel that their voices or concerns aren’t being herd or addressed. We did find that a lot of the students who were telling us they had issues didn’t have any record of a work order being submitted, so the best way to do that is to submit a work order and get us all on the same page.”
Community Living personally contacted Jasmine Knox, a junior living in Publix Commons, after posting a comment on the petition’s page. She said when Community Living contacted her she “almost felt under attack” or that she was “going to get in some sort of trouble for voicing my opinion.” [pullquote]“We got together collectively as an administration with some ideas of how we could come at this,”[/pullquote]
“We discussed the issues I’ve seen around campus,” Knox said. “I was told to submit work orders for everything and to encourage my peers to do the same. I asked the woman I spoke with what issues other students had brought up to her. She said, ‘Not many, they’re saying things are better than last year.’ I know of people who have had black mold in their A/C units in their room. Everyone is constantly sick with some sort of cough or bronchial infection. When I brought this up to her, she said, ‘well some people aren’t used to the amount of allergens in the air here.’ I don’t think it’s a coincidence that everyone is constantly sick with allergies.”
Many students added to Knox’s concerns on the petition’s page. President Anne Kerr responded on the petition’s page, that the College is “committed to ensuring that each student’s living space is clean, safe, and comfortable.”
“Personally, we as a college are here to ensure students have a great college experience in every capacity, doesn’t mean it’s going to be perfect, doesn’t mean that everything is going to always go according to plan, but we’re always going to try and be as student centered and focused as we can conceivably can…” Langston said. “Students are our top priority, that’s why I’m here because I love working with students, I love seeing students grow and develop and change and become leaders and develop a voice. I want students to come and talk to me and share their concerns with me or their dreams with me or their hopes with me and allow me or any of us, to work through concerns or help them find a sense of direction. Students are our top priority, and we want them to have a wonderful and rich experience while they are at Florida Southern.”