Students living in Eric Milner, Block A have voiced their disapprovement with the conditions of their accommodation after three rooms and a main hallway have been flooded.
The three students whose rooms were damaged were given alternative accommodation whilst their rooms were cleared. However, the water damage was so bad in one room that the resident’s mattress and all of her bedding had to be replaced.
Sophie Easterby-Smith, the Block A representative, spoke out about the situation, commenting that “the entirety of Eric A have been outraged by the seemingly blasé attitude of Commercial Services in regard to the present laundry problems.”
She went on to say: “It seems grossly unfair as well as it is breaching the terms of our accommodation contract.”
In addition Blocks A, B and James College Block N have also been without laundry facilities for the past ten weeks causing added disruption to students. A petition signed by 77 students was handed to the Vanbrugh porters two weeks ago complaining about this issue.
Since Week Eight of last term students have been without laundry facilities, as the washing machines stopped functioning in the run-up to Christmas. Despite complaints, the faulty machines have not been fixed – nearly ten weeks after they broke.
This has resulted in over 250 students from Eric Milner and James Block N, having to find alternative washing machines.
“This kind of thing shouldn’t be happening. It’s in our contract that they’ve got to fix it, they have not been helpful and it is getting ridiculous“
First Year Biochemistry student
For those of Eric Milner the nearest options are Vanbrugh Le Page Court washing machines, however these facilities are unable to cope with the added number of students as there are only two washers and dryers. The Block A and B residents keycards have recently been unlocked, allowing them to use the closer and larger, laundry facilities of James College.
This comes after a petition of 77 names was put together in an attempt to shed light on the problem. The petition was handed in to the porters two weeks ago, but the proponents are still waiting for an acknowledgement.
Paul Obern, a first-year Economics student, was one of the implementers of the petition.
He said: “It’s been very eventful, and all we want now is to just get it sorted out. It’s been going on far too long and it is just deeply unprofessional of the University.”
Obern pointed out that their contract states the University has an obligation to employ a third party to deal with problems such as this. He appeared unsurprised at the University’s slow response, citing numerous occasions within their block of bathrooms breaking and having to fix it themselves.
Jake Watson, a first-year resident studying biochemistry, agreed, stating: “This kind of thing shouldn’t be happening. It’s in our contract that they’ve got to fix it, they have not been helpful and it is getting ridiculous.”
A spokesman for the University stated: “the problem occurred due to a defective rainwater pipe in the roof space. Water entered three rooms but cleaning staff were on site and began a clean-up operation immediately.
“Residents affected by the laundry problems have been given access to James College Laundry, or Vanbrugh College Laundry. The breakdown was reported to the contractor and negotiations are underway with a view to completing the necessary repairs as a matter of urgency.”
However, this is not the first time residents of Block A have experienced problems with their accommodation. Returning from their Christmas holidays they were greeted by a flooded stairwell, thanks to a burst pipe due to the cold weather experienced over Christmas. However, Easterby-Smith credited the “quick response given to the flooding of the three bedrooms and stairwells last week.”
The University stated that: “A burst pipe over Christmas resulted in water entering a stair well. The leak was repaired as soon as Estates plumbers were informed by the Facilities Manager, and a clean-up was carried out immediately.”