Leaks bring down Canyon Creek ceiling

Photo courtesy of Yeonjae Park.

On Feb. 2, 2023, Canyon Creek Heights South experienced flooding from rain and snow, causing unsafe living conditions for several Comets, including criminology Ph.D. student Yeonjae Park and finance senior Raaghav Ramji.

Park is currently navigating an uncomfortable living situation, lacking access to a kitchen or her belongings, which has caused her routine to fluctuate violently. While university housing has allocated her a temporary unit, she is forced to navigate from her damaged apartment to a UV apartment just to engage in menial tasks like taking a shower. Park said that this shift has put an extra burden on her during a crucial part of her career.

“It is very stressful that I have to go to temporary housing whenever I want to take a shower,” Park said. “And you know, I have job interviews. These are really important days for me.”

Matthew Grief, associate vice president for student affairs, said that relocation depends on the situation. Students who need to relocate will have close communication with housing.

“Every situation is different, and there are times when students do not have to be relocated. In cases where relocation takes place, the students are worked with closely by our housing team to make as smooth a transition as possible.” Grief said. “Keys are collected, and the student does not have access to the room until the space is completely repaired; then they are able to reoccupy the room.”

Park said that the communication process between affected residents and housing has been ineffectual and time-consuming. She has only been able to communicate with PAs about the situation and was denied the opportunity to speak firsthand with Ryan White, assistant vice president of residential life. Park said that housing did not respond to her initial emails requesting information, and later, housing did not provide her with a timeframe in which she could return to her original housing in CCHS.

“I feel like they are intentionally evading a conversation with me,” Park said. “I don’t know if when others did this, this evasion worked for them, but I think [UTD Housing] should really do something about it. I cannot just bear this … I really didn’t feel good after seeing all the PAs apologizing [to] me on behalf of that Ryan guy. That was just unpleasant.”

Other students have reported trouble communicating with housing for repairs. Ramji said that when he left his apartment overnight, a maintenance crew came in to fix the damage without any prior notice or communication from housing. He said he came back to the apartment the following day noticing that his personal belongings in the bathroom were out of place.

“I wasn’t there that night, my door was cracked open and there was just a hole in the ceiling and they kind of moved my bathroom around a little bit… like the trashcan, some towels,” Ramji said. “They came in the very next day as well to fix it.”

When asked about the communication process, Grief said that either UTD staff or other vendors perform maintenance.

Photo courtesy of Yeonjae Park.

“Not every maintenance situation that presents itself is the same, and sometimes there are multiple factors that go into a facility repair once a cause is determined,” Grief said. “In all University Housing programs, you will find unanticipated issues, which is why we have 24-hour maintenance on duty to address anything that comes up. If our own staff cannot address [the issue], then we rely on several vendors that must be called out to address the repair once a cause is determined.”

Park said that a lack of communication from Housing has exposed her to unexpected visits from maintenance crew. Park said that handymen from outside UTD have previously entered students’ apartments without prior notice, sometimes unaccompanied by UTD staff. Park said that maintenance entered her apartment without notifying her not only when she was packing for her move into UV, but also in the summer of 2022 when she was cooking in her kitchen.

“The fact that outside people are constantly going in and out of my room, that’s just not comfortable,” Park said.

Since maintenance is also allocated to outside vendors, Grief clarified the procedures taken in situations where service is required.

“The work is either done internally by our own maintenance staff or carried out by a vendor, depending on the size and scope of the repair. It is our procedure to leave behind notifications for students who are residing in the room while repairs take place,” Grief said. “If the unit is unoccupied due to relocation, we don’t inform students, because they do not have access to their room during the repairs.”

The water leaks in CCHS came from a problem with the roofing system and were repaired by maintenance staff that stayed on campus during the ice storm.

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