Showered with student anger
By Brendan Howe
Nice, warm, steamy showers are something students in two residences at New Brunswick's Mount Allison University have had to do without for most of the year and now they want the school to pay for it.
Since November, students in the Thornton House and Edward House residences have found themselves showering in cold water frequently because of problems with the hot water system.
Jeff Henry, president of the Edward House Residents' Council, said temperature problems have been occurring at times when there is heavy usage of the system.
Henry said the university has yet to fix the problem and residents are asking for their money back but have yet to get anything.
Dave Stewart, VP-administration at Mount Allison, said the university has made an offer to give each of the residences' councils some money in recognition of the unfortunate difficulties residents have gone through during the year, but the university would not give individual compensation. He said this would be differential fees from residence to residence something which is not done.
"Differential fees is not something we believe would be appropriate in the current situation," Stewart said. He added the water temperature problems were something the school could not avoid.
Henry said the university had made an offer to give $700 to each residence council but was not impressed with it. "The university has made an offer which everyone, pretty much, finds unacceptable." He added residents pay around $3,000 per year to live there.
Students who are leaving residence at the end of the year would not be able to take advantage of that money, he said.
Stewart said he believes the offer was a reasonable one and the residences at Mount Allison operate as a non-profit organization so they would lose money if compensation was given to the students.
Chris Hunter, manager of housing at the university, said measures are currently being taken to fix the problem and it should be rectified within the next couple of weeks. Originally, the water heating system was removed and cleaned but to no avail, so the residences are now waiting for new parts which will enhance the current system.
"It's as frustrating for us as it's been for them," she said. She added the university is hoping once they receive these parts the solution to the problem will be reached. The parts are currently in transit.
Susan Grindrod, Western's senior director of housing and food services, agreed that giving out rebates is not the answer to the problem. "Saying 'gosh, we'll get it fixed after you're gone [for the summer]' isn't the answer."
She explained some of Western's residences have experienced some temperature fluctuation problems with hot water but the university has spent a lot of money on maintenance to fix and prevent problems.