Students express concerns about living conditions in Chisholm Hall

Angie Santos, Assistant News Editor

Chisholm Hall currently houses 347 UTSA students with dormitory prices ranging from $2,614 to $5,127 per semester. However, students have expressed concerns with housing, including maintenance and amenities of the dorm. 

A prominent concern has been disability accessibility as there is no elevator for the building with four floors, something that UTSA hopes to address in their future renovation. 

“Chisholm Hall does not have an elevator. A significant renovation is planned for Chisholm Hall this summer, which will include addressing accessibility needs,” Lee Myers, director of campus services facilities and partner management, commented.

Kaylon “JJ”  Green, a Chisholm Hall resident, spoke about his experience with the issue. 

“It blows my mind that there’s no other way to get up to your room other than a flight of stairs … I’m pretty sure how they do it is put people with disabilities —if you make that known— they put them on the first floor, but I mean people injure themselves all the time,” Green said.

Green recounted his time when he had an injured knee while living on the second floor. “I think that really messed with the recovery process; I was putting a lot of strain on myself,” Green said.

Dan Gockley, executive director of housing services in housing administration, commented on the procedure. “The safety and wellbeing of our students is our utmost priority. If a student is injured and needs assistance, they should notify their RA and we will work with them to address their situation,” Gockley said.

However, Green admitted to not notifying the administration. “That wasn’t communicated very well,” Green said. 

However, Green said he was not sure who to contact other than his RA. One of the main reasons, other than confusing communication, was also the lack of confidence in maintenance repairs.

“I felt like nothing was going to be done,” he said. “They announced that the A.C. was broken for the second time in like two weeks for the floor. From the time it was reported the first time and the time it got fixed, it was probably at least a week, so there was no A.C.,” Green continued.

“For most routine maintenance work orders, we aim to respond within 48 hours with the majority addressed sooner,” Myers said.

In regard to delays for requests, Myers responded to the reasons as to why that would happen. “Our goal is to address maintenance requests immediately. Sometimes, though, receiving needed parts, particularly with recent supply chain challenges, causes delays in maintenance requests. In general, maintenance requests are prioritized based on urgency, which is why some requests to be addressed more quickly than others,” Myers said.

In addition to maintenance delays, Green also shared an issue that many in Chisholm face. “The kitchen is very small, it has one stove. When COVID was bad, it was a problem,” Green said. Green recalled a single stove and microwave serving the entire dorm, which he felt was a hazard with many crowding around. “They don’t let you have hot plates,” he added.

“As part of the summer renovations, the kitchen will receive new appliances, furniture, cabinets and fixtures,” Myers said. 

Along with air conditioning incidents, there have been other students at Chisholm with similar stories.

Another resident at Chisholm, who chose to remain anonymous, recounted her first night there when sewage came from her shower. After calling her R.A., she was told there was nothing that could be done until morning. The following morning she also cleaned it up with her own paper towels. One of her biggest issues has been her air conditioning, which took months to get fixed after submitting several requests to get it fixed. She explained how it took her physically going to the housing office to get someone to fix it as soon as possible because she was worried about the incoming cold front. Along with having maintenance respond to her request within a couple of days, she was also given a small space heater to use in the meantime. 

 Jillian Sommer, a resident at Chisholm, explained her grievances with the dorm. “The maintenance is really bad. I put in a request, and they didn’t even come and fix it, or it takes forever for them to come and fix it.”

Sommer recalled the state of her dorm when moving in. “There’s like ant problems. It was dirty when we got here too, the dorms weren’t cleaned … I know one of my friends on the first floor, like his dresser drawers are broken, he has it outside of his dresser on the floor,” Sommer said.

Along with the concerns about cleanliness, Sommer commented on her experience with mold in Chisholm.

 “There was mold in our shower, and their way of fixing it was just taking the ceiling away and not giving one back,” Sommer, who has since had an exposed shower ceiling, said.

“As part of our regular maintenance, we proactively clean and maintain facilities to avoid issues such as this. If someone reports mold, we immediately investigate. If we see any evidence of possible mold growth, we contact Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management, which oversees the mold protocol, to conduct a full assessment and determine any remediation that may be necessary,” Myers said.