News | Administration

Students seek compensation after being moved from dorm

In early October, Trisha Sinha, CC ’20, was locked out of her room after reporting a leak in her John Jay Hall room to the Hartley Hospitality Desk.

Sinha was unable to move back into her room for two weeks. Though she was later able to retrieve her belongings and was offered temporary housing in Wallach, she chose to live on a friend’s floor.

For two weeks in October, Facilities and Operations made repairs to rooms in John Jay affected by a cracked drain line. While the problem was being addressed, Housing contacted affected students who were moved into temporary housing with estimates for when the renovation would be completed. Without receiving any follow-up from Housing to confirm these dates, residents had to actively seek out information, leading to confusion about when rooms would be ready. Now, some are seeking monetary compensation for their inconvenience.

Roommates Ignacio Ramirez, CC ’20, and Bunmi Fariyake, SEAS ’20, were asked to relocate to a spare double in Carman for “emergency work” that would require opening a wall to repair the drain line, according to an email from Housing obtained by Spectator.

Ramirez and Fariyake moved to Carman on Sunday, Oct. 9, and were told repairs would be completed that Friday. Fariyake, however, recalls returning to his room every day and never seeing any work done.

“It was like they’d never even gone in there,” Fariyake said. “So we were kind of confused as to why they made us move out.”

After asking the Hartley Hospitality Desk whether furniture needed to be moved and how long the repairs would take, Ramirez was not immediately told whether he could move back in.

“The woman who was communicating with us never emailed us any further instructions,” Ramirez said. “It was just very frustrating.”

Several hours after approaching the Hospitality Desk, Fariyake received a call notifying him that the room was ready. Ramirez did not directly receive confirmation but was informed by his roommate.

A University spokesperson confirmed that Housing initially notified students with an estimate for when their rooms were scheduled to be completed and clarified specific dates when students reached out to Housing. Ramirez was not contacted after reaching out, however, as Housing could not reach him by phone.

Claire Zuo, CC ’20, received an email from Housing indicating that she would not be able to live in her room for at least a week. After relocating to Wallach, Zuo returned to her room on the tentative completion date to find heavy repairs underway.

“They hadn’t alerted me to the fact that my room was still under construction,” Zuo said, “which was a big trouble.”

Rather than wait for Housing to confirm a later date, it was Zuo who found a viable long-term solution.

“I ended up talking to Housing pretty extensively,” Zuo said, who proposed that she move permanently to a spare room on her floor. “All my stuff was already on floor 14, so I just moved into that room.”

Although Fariyake looked into the possibility of compensation from Housing, he never received a response.

“They should have definitely compensated my roommate and [me],” Ramirez said, “since it interfered with our schedules and all.”

A spokesperson declined to comment on the possibility of compensating affected residents, citing policy that restricts them from disclosing financial data regarding individual students.

ethan.woo@columbiaspectator.com | @ColumbiaSpec

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