Marquette Wire

EDITORIAL: After Mashuda flooding, students must be main priority

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mashudaApart from those who qualify for a housing exemption, all Marquette freshmen and sophomores live in the residence halls their first two years. These two years can be burdensome, but they provide students a place to call home within the campus community, where they can spend time with friends and base their early college lives.

The bright side to living in the residence halls is not having to worry much about maintenance or issues outside of your control. This can, unfortunately, mean you are at the mercy of the university and the Office of Residence Life if particular housing problems should arise.

One such problem took place over winter break when a pipe burst in Mashuda Hall, resulting in a flood which affected all seven floors. Not all the damage could be taken care of before the start of the semester so some students came back from break and found they had to move into another room or to another building.

Instead of reuniting with friends after four weeks away, some Mashuda residents were displaced from the comfort of their familiar residence hall. The bursting pipe was a fluke, but it is undeniable that it had an unfortunate effect on students residing there.

It is positive to see ORL has taken the necessary steps to fix the damage, get students back to their original rooms as quickly as possible and ensure the problem does not pop up in the future. Proper and persistent protocol must have taken place, and it is good to know such issues are taken seriously with quick and efficient action.

There is the additional matter, however, of how students were accommodated in areas other than assigned housing. Yes, everyone who was displaced was able to stay in another room or McCormick Hall in overflow housing, yet there are other effects when students are forced out of their rooms. It can be incredibly stressful, especially for first-year or transfer students coming to a new semester, to face complications right as they return.

Providing safe and efficient housing is the first priority for ORL, but going forward, it should also consider how it supports students following stressful incidents. Resident assistants and hall directors work with students to ensure there are no problems between residents and that everyone is behaving in an orderly manner. These tasks are obviously pretty large and important, but there should be just as great an importance put on the individual well-being of students.

If this is not an area for ORL, then the Counseling Center could lend further support if such an incident happened again and even now as students are able to return to their rooms as soon as this weekend. Students should have this support from the university as though the incident was not the fault of ORL or the building’s staff, there remains a responsibility for both to continue work with students.

As ORL continues to work with Belfor, a property restoration company, to fix damages and prevent future damages at Mashuda, it should make sure the hall remains a home to its residents who were displaced. This requires consideration and action for the emotional and mental status of students rather than just their housing status on campus.

Following this incident, ensuring students’ safety and comfort on campus is the number one priority. The university, in situations like this, needs to care for all aspects of its students, not just their living situation.

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