Roof collapses on Norsworthy room over Winter Break

Upon returning to their room for the Spring 2005 semester, it appeared to the former residents of Norsworthy Hall room 315 that the College installed a moon roof in their room.

On Jan. 16 one of those residents, Amanda White, junior biology major, opened her door as she struggled with an armful of belongings to find a hole in her ceiling and chunks of plaster on her bed.

While the two girls are now living in another room in Norsworthy Hall, they remained in the room for the first four days of the semester because the office of Residence Life failed to respond to the situation until Jan. 20.

According to White, she immediately went downstairs to the hall office and reported the problem to the new Norsworthy Hall Assistant Residence Director, Julie Kirschner. Without delay, Kirschner contacted Campus Police and Campus Facilities to come evaluate the situation.

“The person who arrived from Facilities stood in the doorframe for about ten seconds, looking over at the ceiling,” White said. After mentioning that the collapsed section of the ceiling had recently been mended over the summer, he left.

According to White, she and her roommate, Mandy Falkenstein, junior biology major, remained living in the room with a collapsed ceiling for a couple days without being contacted by the office of Residence Life. “I just pushed my bed and belongings from under the hole and moved all my stuff against the wall,” White said.

On Tuesday, White tried to contact Campus Facilities and was unsuccessful in finding help. She said that one person told her she had to submit paperwork, while another staff member she spoke with told her “they know about it.”

“Don’t you think someone should have come and officially said something to me?” White asked.

According to Joseph Sullivan, director of Campus Facilities, the total ceiling area to be repaired is approximately 12 square feet.

“To ensure the safety of all students in Norsworthy, Facilities staff checked all of the rooms to see if there were other problems which needed to be immediately addressed,” Sullivan said. “There were no other areas observed which needed immediate attention. The ceiling repairs will be completed shortly and the room returned for use to residence life.”

However, several Norsworthy Hall residents said that they did not witness inspections or evaluations of any other rooms in the building.

Last week, both White and her mother tried numerous times unsuccessfully to get in touch with various staff members in the office of Residence Life, including Kate Berry, Residence Director. The following day Kirschner notified White that her room had been taken offline and issued her a key to a vacant room down the hall.

“(Kirschner) went out of her way to be really helpful with this situation, but I expected more of a response from the ResLife Office,” White said. “All I got were the bits and pieces of what (Kirschner) said.”

Kirschner was unable to comment on the issues surrounding White’s room.

Thursday afternoon White was finally able to speak with Berry who informed her the room was officially offline. She would have no choice but to vacate. She also promised White that someone would arrive at 2 p.m. the following day to help her move her heavy items. White, who was in her room all day on Friday hauling belongings back and forth, said no one even showed up.

Berry failed to comment about the circumstances regarding this conversation.

When asked about her reaction to this whole issue, White said, “At first I was upset about having to move, having to start over…it’s just inconvenient. Of course I was upset. When they first told me, I thought, I’m gonna fight this. I still have a lot of questions about it. Apparently now it doesn’t matter.”

Other than inconveniencing roommates who were forced to vacate and relocate to another side of the building, White’s collapsed ceiling raises larger issues for the residents of Norsworthy Hall.

Some students even on the third floor were unaware of the situation that occurred in room 315, while others expressed frustration at the lack of security they felt.

“This place is falling apart,” Allie Osborne, junior chemistry major, said. “The heat doesn’t work in some rooms, the windows don’t seal correctly, and just the other day the dead bolt on our door wouldn’t turn and we were locked in our room. That’s really safe,” she said sarcastically.

Osborne also expressed frustration at the lack of response from the Residence Life staff. “(They) probably won’t talk to you because they know this building is worthless and nobody should be living here. Because of all the apartment (nonsense), they’re going to continue to place students in this dilapidated building for years to come,” Obsorne said.

“It just sucks that we’re in a freshman dorm that’s crashing in on us when we should be in the apartments,” Emily Lukacs, junior journalism major, said.

Jenn Geigert, junior engineering major, sighed, rolled her eyes and said, “It’s just getting worse and worse.”

Berry refused to comment on the fact that Norsworthy Hall was supposed to be closed this past fall for renovations but was then used to house upperclassmen scheduled to live in the new apartments. When asked about issues regarding the safety of the building, Berry refused to comment.

“The room is offline. Past that we have no comment,” Berry said.

Megan Yesinko, junior English major who lived on the third floor of Norsworthy Hall last year, expressed concern over the situation and said she knew the building was in need of repair. “I had no idea it would get as bad as this. I’m just glad that no one got hurt and that I’m not there this year with such safety hazards,” she said.

White’s former neighbor, Jason Price, junior English major, laughed when he described the situation in room 315. “I’m glad it wasn’t mine,” he said.
When asked if she fears any similar situations occurring in her new, and smaller, room, White laughed and merely pointed above her head to a heavily spackled patch of plastered ceiling.