Dear Globe Editors,
I am writing to you in complaint and disgust over Laura Krantz’s recent article, "Falling elevators, raw hamburger, lax security at UMass Boston dorms." This article has stirred up unwarranted problems which are nonexistent to most students living on campus. I am a freshman living in the West Residence Hall and I, like many others, have not experienced these issues nor thought of them in such scrutiny. The article published is incredibly biased and I am sure, without a doubt, that it was published with the intent of blasting the University of Massachusetts Boston as Krantz has done on numerous occasions in the past. As an outsider looking in, the Globe and the general public simply cannot expect to understand the experience of the dorms. In comparison to what is offered to freshman at other schools, these dorms are a luxury. Hardwood floors, big bathrooms with the option of having it private, a student’s personal room thermostats which can be controlled at the student’s own leisure, and views of the harbor and our beautiful skyline—when I showed my friends on move-in day, they thought I was living in a hotel. Each floor has common rooms which are equipped with Rokus (including Xfinity) and comfortable furniture. Downstairs, there is a laundry room, study rooms, and a common kitchen area with a lounge (including a pool table). There are Samsung TVs in every public room which are available at our disposal. While talking to students in my classes, as well as at the floor meeting the night of Nov. 13, my thoughts and feelings were furthermore confirmed by others.
The complaints of few are not the collective mindset of all.
With all this said, I would like to clarify that most issues which are true to some students are brought about by his or her peers, not from being an institutional problem. With anything in life, everyone cannot be happy. We do not live in a utopian world. Complaints, especially with a new building and system, are inevitable.
My main issue, common among many students, is the presentation of the issues in the article; they are blown out of proportion to the point which students are unhappy and cannot agree, despite what little truth remains true in his or her mind.
However, I’d like to thank the college and its maturity in responding to these issues. Rather than neglecting and creating a larger issue in the public eye, they are already taking action, improving said “issues."
Personally, I do not believe that we need 24-hour police surveillance. I have never felt unsafe at the school; the police could be spending their time more wisely. I am happy with the heightened security at the turnstiles, although again, I have never felt unsafe. In many opinions, the security is now way over the top.
Regarding the dining hall, the cooks are now taking longer than ever to bake food in fear of people thinking it is undercooked. People have to keep in mind that their purpose is to feed thousands, and to do so in a timely manner. I have NEVER had uncooked food; EVERY DAY I have healthy foods such as meat, roasted vegetables, eggs, etc. Students who are complaining are probably used to home-cooked meals and are too privileged to appreciate what is given to them and the effort put into it. Every restaurant has probably served something undercooked once in its career and to base the entirety of the Dining Commons off of a few complains is yet again, creating a HUGE bias.
Other issues, like uncleanliness, is not a staff or institutional issue; it is a student issue. The janitorial staff is incredibly kind and do their best to clean public areas in both the East and West Residence Halls, even during the weekends. Many students are irresponsible, leaving bathrooms and halls a mess as if they live at home. Again, I live in the West Residence Hall and I have not dealt with this whatsoever. If there was anything as vile as blood, urine, and vomit in a public bathroom AND a Resident Assistant/janitorial staff were contacted, that area would be shut down until cleaned up.
Regarding the quality of the water… it is absolutely fine. Yes, unfiltered water comes out of the faucet, which is why it is called tap water. I have an aquarium were my fish are thriving. I too had fish that died but their death was not due to the water quality; I still have many fish that are absolutely fine under the same conditions. A mistake that could have been made is the lack of procedures taken to ensure the safety of the water; water conditioner is needed, as well as a filter and other specialized needs to which certain species might require (like a heater). Also, I have not personally had a cold shower. In fact, my showers often get too hot. But let’s be real—it’s not like it is unheard of to have water-heater issues or, depending on the system, for a building to run out of hot water during a time when many students are trying to shower simultaneously.
The article makes it seem like we are living in a hellish environment. This is far from the truth.
YES, there have been small issues which have happened in some dorms. There is a residential portal where students can submit a work order. Within 24 hours, someone from maintenance will attend and fix their problems, without a fee. It is also important to note that every scratch and bump sticks out like a sore thumb since it was obviously in mint condition on move-in day.
Regarding the elevators, I know of two different occasions ONLY when it dropped. One instance was caused by the numerous students jumping and messing around—one was not. Mechanical objects are bound to have issues. Why scrutinize the institution for making kids walk upstairs while they are trying to fix the elevators? Would you rather it be ignored, and students continue to use a faulty system? It makes no sense.
I personally feel as though UMass Boston is in the limelight because it is the only public school in a city of prestigious private schools. Being at the top of my class in high school, taking honor/AP classes, and being involved greatly in student government, advising, sports, and other extracurriculars, I felt the need to go to one of those “prestigious” private schools… but in all honesty, I didn’t need to go to a private school to gain a quality education.
There is a lot to love about UMass Boston. With more than 16,500 people enrolled in the university, it is easy to see its appeal. We are surrounded by water, with a real campus in the city, with great faculty—all for a low tuition. These dorms allowed a lot of people who are not able to commute to still obtain a great education. UMass Boston is still trying to adapt to this new school environment, and I think for the first two months, they are doing a pretty damn good job.
Delaney Hooper, a proud Freshman at UMass Boston