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Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

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Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

UVA water shutdowns: Angry residents petition FAU Housing for compensation

University Village Apartments’ residents have experienced water shutdowns since August, resulting in over 40 signatures on a petition for reimbursement, angry students say.
University+Village+Apartments+%28UVA%29+central+block+and+parking.+
Nicholas Windfelder
University Village Apartments (UVA) central block and parking.

Over 40 students living in University Village Apartments (UVA) signed a petition Wednesday morning to request compensation for repeated water shutdowns, among other issues, citing a violation of their housing contracts. 

Clause 17C of their housing contracts read, “The University and the Department of Housing and Residential Education are not financially responsible for any outages or outages due to uncontrollable circumstances (i.e. inclement weather or acts of God).”

FAU Housing and Residential Education (HRE) did not respond to requests for comment by the time of publication. It is unclear if FAU considers the circumstance uncontrollable.

In addition to the petition, many residents have been sending HRE emails expressing their anger and discontent with continued water-related issues, given that a four-bedroom single suite costs $4200.

“Since the day I moved in I have been having non-stop problems. My bathroom was flooded after the first shower. It stayed flooded after putting in multiple work orders over the course of three weeks. Finally someone came and said they successfully ‘fixed’ the flooding issue. The following day, the bathroom was flooded again,” resident Faith Joslin told HRE.

Joslin said HRE did not respond to her email.

“It’s getting ridiculous how much you guys are shutting off the water yet still keeping us in the space. The housing department time and time again puts people back into UVA with all of these problems without any compensation for you guys shutting our water off almost weekly this semester,” resident Max Norris wrote in one of three emails to HRE.

HRE also did not respond to any of Norris’ emails.

Norris also said he thinks HRE is violating the Implied Warranty of Habitability (Florida Statute 83.51), which states that all landlords should make reasonable provisions for “Functioning facilities for heat during winter, running water, and hot water.”

Timeline of email announcements

Around 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, HRE emailed residents in buildings 57 and 58 and the Black Professional Women’s (BPW) House behind UVA regarding water shutdowns. They sent another email at 12:17 p.m. to residents in buildings 59 and 60, according to Brian Fisher, associate vice president of operations for the Division of Student Affairs.

“Initially, we were told by the vendor that the water only needed to be for the first three buildings. When we learned it impacted the entire property, we sent out a second email,” wrote Fisher in an email to the UP, which he sent at 3:51 p.m. “The water is now back on.”

Fisher said Boca Raton Utilities provide FAU’s water and Farmer & Irwin is the vendor assisting with the repairs. When contacted for comment, Farmer & Irwin Plumbing Service Manager Frank Cleary said, “I have no comment.”

Students report not receiving the announcement until after HRE had already shut off the water for four hours.

“The water has been turned off on us multiple times and often without warning. We’ve received a few emails telling us the water has been out but I believe they have just turned it off on us with no warning like six times,” wrote resident Megan MacDonald in a statement.

Resident Camila Ospina received the initial email at 10:16 a.m., 45 minutes after Fisher claimed HRE sent the announcement.

Resident Camila Ospina received this email from HRE at 10:16 a.m. Screenshot courtesy of Ospina.

This is not the first instance of water shutdowns at UVA, as quite a few students began receiving water issue-related emails in August, as shown by the following screenshots:

According to public records obtained by the UP, residents in buildings 57 through 60 have submitted 48 plumbing work orders starting from August 17 to the current date for issues with toilets overflowing, clogged drains and even frogs.

One maintenance request reads, “Frogs have been coming up drain need a drain that does not open like one from glades.” This request was submitted on Sept. 19 regarding the residents’ bathroom. The request was not completed until Sept. 26.

Issues at UVA go beyond water shortages

With these water shortages comes many other issues. Students report being unable to do laundry because of out-of-order washing machines, unable to brush their teeth and take a shower because of hot water outages and even mold in their dorms.

“In my shower there is black mold growing and spreading over the ceiling,” wrote resident Shelby Pritchard in a statement.

Resident Christopher Kremski emphasized the significance of mold in dorms and its effect on students’ health.

“The most alarming situation with our living quarters is the mold. I’m constantly getting sick and having respiratory issues due to the amount of black mold not only in the walls but also in the bathroom. FAU is constantly made aware of the issues that go on around here but never once have they cared or offered some sort of compensation,” wrote Kremski in a statement.

Students have also reported cockroaches and ants in their dorms. Kremski is among many who believe HRE needs to be more proactive in their response to these issues.

“The amount of things that have gone wrong is outrageous. MULTIPLE times our hot water or water in general has either not been working or been shut off. There were air conditioning problems. People have had roach and ant problems,” wrote resident Jaden Head. “The neglect that we are receiving in UVA should not be allowed. This NEEDS to be fixed.”

This story is still developing and will be updated as more information becomes available.

Elisabeth Gaffney is the Managing Editor for the University Press. For more information regarding this story or others, you can reach her by email at [email protected] or DM her on Instagram @elisabethgaff.

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Elisabeth Gaffney, Managing Editor
Elisabeth is a junior majoring in multimedia journalism and double minoring in linguistics and sociology. She is a creative, kitten and coffee-loving workaholic with a love for the performing arts and storytelling. She hopes to one day work as a reporter at an established newspaper.
Nicholas Windfelder, Lead Photographer
Nicholas Windfelder is the lead photographer for University Press. He began his work in the spring of 2022 and became lead photographer in the following fall semester. While being a mechanical engineering major, his greatest hobby is photography and hopes to build himself as a photographer as well. You can contact him via Instagram or email. View Nick's work below, on Instagram, or his online portfolio. Disclaimer: Unauthorized reproduction, sale, or modifications of the images below, or within the associated articles, galleries, or links, are strictly prohibited. All images are copyright protected. For requested use of the images below, please contact Nicholas Windfelder via email or message @UPressOnline on Instagram.

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