Students Find Fault with Facilities

Residents Complain of Insect Bites, Elevator Malfunctions


Published: October 8, 2009

As the fall semester enters its second month, elevator malfunctions and insect bites are causing some students to feel disgruntled regarding facilities operations in Fordham College at Lincoln Center’s (FCLC) McMahon Hall.

“I’ve been getting bug bites since the beginning of the semester, and I’ve been seeing mosquitoes flying around in my common room, my friends’ common rooms, in my classrooms, just here and there,” said Theo LeGro FCLC ’10.

LeGro was recently hospitalized after an insect bite that she received in McMahon Hall on Sept.25.

“I woke up and my arm was really swollen. My left hand was really swollen and I couldn’t really move it… I didn’t think it was a big deal, but there was a streak of red going up my arm, going up past my elbow,” she said.

LeGro said she spent four hours in the emergency room of St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital and received antibiotics for her bite.

LeGro said that she has received several insect bites while living in New York City, but never in McMahon Hall until this year. “I think it’s kind of weird, because, living here for four years, I’ve never seen bugs here, I’ve never gotten bug bites here,” LeGro said. “Honestly, I was on the 11th floor when I got bit, and I’m pretty sure bugs aren’t supposed to be able to get up that high.”

Ashley Breunich, FCLC ’12, who lives on the 12th floor, had a similar encounter with insects in her room. “Me and three other roommates got bites, and we thought it was just mosquitoes, so we weren’t really bothered by it, but then it kept on getting worse,” she said. “We don’t know what is biting us. It’s disgusting. I couldn’t even sleep in my bed for a week.”

Breunich said that she suspects that the bugs came from another room in her hallway.

Maureen Sweet, FCLC ’12, who lives on the 15th floor, said that she also had to deal with insects in her apartment. “I woke up in the middle of the night and there were bites on my arms, so obviously I freaked out…. I was so confused; I knew that the girls down the hall had an insect problem, but I didn’t encounter them at all. I don’t know how it spread or anything,” she said.

According to Leslie Timoney, manager of facilities for McMahon Hall, students need not worry about an insect problem in McMahon Hall. In a statement that she gave to the Observer Editorial Board, she said, “McMahon has never had an ‘infestation’ of any kind. We have had ‘incidents’ of various bugs in different rooms at different times. These issues have never grown beyond a single room. McMahon isn’t a source of bugs; the bugs are brought in from the outside… the bugs come in with students and their friends.”

Timoney said that there was an issue with fleas that she was “alerted to” on Sept. 12. “A resident brought in a cat and another resident in the same apartment was exposed to fleas at home,” she said.

“The situation is under control,” said Timoney. “Students shouldn’t have a problem contacting Residential Life, Facilities or Security on a 24/7 basis,” she said.

FCLC students are also finding fault with the elevators in McMahon Hall.

“Well, there are definitely certain issues that I have with them, especially when you’re trying to go down to the first floor and the elevator goes all the way to the 20th floor,” said Cary Kehayan, FCLC ’10. “There’s always a gap between the elevator and the floor. The elevator is lower than the floor, and I’ve seen people trip coming off the elevator. It wasn’t funny. I would say if the elevators were running properly, that would be great.”

“They’re very unreliable,” said Breunich, “I was on one once and it just stopped in between two floors. I pressed that red emergency button and it went to floor below it, but then it wouldn’t open. I was in the elevator for like 15 minutes waiting for the door to open so I could get out.”

“They’re pretty bad,” said Jackson Galan, FCLC ’12. “I’ve been trapped in the elevator, sometimes for 15 minutes at a time, and it makes me late for class.”

Timoney said that these complications are the result of the installment of new door restrictors required by New York City code. “Elevator service is affected by the move-in with things dropping in the tracks and causing the cars to shut down. By the time students returned, every car had 40 new door parts and with new parts  there’s a period of adjustment.”

According to Timoney, facilities completed the installment of the new parts on all but one elevator by the time students moved into McMahon Hall.

Timoney said that students should report any problems they have with the elevators to the security desk in the lobby. “We report all elevator issues to our maintenance company which responds immediately, within reason,” she said.

Despite the issues they have had with facilities at McMahon, Breunich and Sweet both said that they were pleased with how the facilities department handled their respective issues.

“Everyone was very nice and very helpful,” said Breunich.

“As far as my room is concerned, they did fine. I didn’t have any real problems…. They were great,” said Sweet, who noted that she received a timely response from her Residential Assistant (RA) and a follow up call from Timoney.

Even if facilities is making the effort to  fix problems students have, LeGro said that these issues make her question whether facilities will be able to keep up with the development of the Capital Campaign—a fundraising effort that will fund the construction of new dormitories at FCLC.

“In the grand scheme of things, waiting ten extra minutes for an elevator is not going to ruin my day or my week and it’s not going to make me not want to live in McMahon, but, that being said, if they’re trying to raise money to build more housing down the block, what good does that do? Are they just going to build another ineffectual building?” she said.