In early September, students arrived back on campus - accompanied by flash flood warnings.
Rain fell all day Sept. 5 and 6 with Framingham receiving 3.4 inches as of noon that Tuesday, according to WCVB TV.
As a result of this storm, many leaks were discovered across campus, including in the Henry Whittemore Library, May Hall, and the McCarthy Center.
[Editor’s Note: See “Facilities plans repairs to leaks around campus” in the Oct. 7 issue of The Gatepost.]
Though steps have been taken to fix the leaks in the library and May Hall, Patricia Whitney, assistant vice president of Facilities and Capital Planning, stated in a Sept. 29 email to The Gatepost - 23 days after the storm ended - that her operations director did not receive any “work orders” and asked for details.
“We will have someone look at it,” Whitney wrote. “It is really important for people to tell us when they see a problem otherwise we don’t know to go look at it.”
This isn’t the Rainforest Cafe. Clearly students, faculty, and staff walking into the McCarthy Center know water is not supposed to be sprinkling out of the ceiling in multiple places.
The leaks in the building were incredibly obvious and that is precisely why they were not reported.
Buckets, some of which were repurposed trash cans, were placed underneath these leaks and water that had made it to the floor and other surfaces needed to be cleaned up.
The task of putting in a work order is placed on students and other community members who assumed it was already being taken care of by those whose job it is to do so.
Just yesterday, Oct. 13, during another torrential rainstorm, Student Transportation Center employees had puddles of water accumulating on their counter throughout the day that they were left to clean up themselves.
Clearly, repairs to the McCarthy Center have yet to be made.
It is puzzling McCarthy’s leaks were overlooked given the building is quite literally the “Campus Center.”
Students should not be held responsible for ensuring this campus is being maintained - they have other matters to deal with than confirming whether the leaks they see are being fixed.
Students can take it upon themselves to inform Facilities when maintenance problems arise, but a major leak should not go unaddressed for nearly a month because no one sent in a work order.
Having water-damaged ceilings and trash cans collecting rainwater in our main building is not a good look for the University as prospective students tour the campus.
When the leaks in May Hall and the library were brought to their attention, Facilities could have decided it was time to do a walk through of each building on campus to see if there were any other major leaks.
Had this been done, the leaks in the McCarthy Center would have been documented.
Beyond this, checks such as these should be done somewhat frequently to ensure the safety of our campus community, especially with the leak that was coming out of the light fixture in May Hall.
Given how easily McCarthy was overlooked, who knows what other leaks may exist that are just as dangerous as the one in May or just as damaging as the one in the library’s Archives Room?
With Facilities being located just off campus, perhaps that is why those in charge would prefer work orders to be placed by faculty, staff, and students.
In that case, the directions on how to place a maintenance request should be more clear and available to the community.
This can be done by posting signage or sending emails that inform the community on the steps required to make a request.
However, this still does not excuse the fact that responsibility is being placed on the campus community to do the work of Facilities.
This leak was too obvious and dangerous to have been overlooked.
You don’t need a work order to do your work.