• Timothy Frey

Facilities Problems a Growing Source of Student Complaints

"It's FREEZING in here," "Turn on the heat please," "Is there any warm place in this school to study?" These are just a few of the many GW law student status messages complaining about the temperatures within the law school this winter.


Complaints were especially high during the final exam period last December, prompting SBA Vice President Liz Westbrook and Facilities Chair Meghan Woods to take the issue to the school administrators. During that time, students throughout the library and study areas could be seen wearing their coats, hats, and even scarves while studying. As third year student Ashley Rankin explains the problem, "the temperature controls at school are terrible. For those that choose to spend their time studying at school, should they even be able to find a seat, they will be subjected to arctic temperatures with an actual wind chill in the reading room of the library."


Unfortunately, the problem was not limited to study areas, as students also complained of low temperatures while taking their finals. Another third year student, Julia Jankowski, relates that during one of her exams she was so cold that her hands were shaking from the chill. Others could be seen wearing winter gear during the tests, and even the proctors often had to wear large winter coats.


The coldest rooms seemed to be the Lerner -02 rooms, as well as the reading room of the library. Other places, however, have the opposite problem - too much heat. This can pose an issue for people who have bundled up to brave the other areas of school. As Julia explains, "when the rooms are too warm you can get very uncomfortable, especially if you are wearing warm clothes or Uggs." She also notes that while it may be easy to shed coats and hats, taking off your boots in class is a little bit tougher.


In addition to temperature concerns, students have voiced complaints over other facets of the law school that are not necessarily in tip-top condition. For example, Deric Ortiz, another third year, would like to see something done about the fact that the refrigerator room in the hard lounge always floods. He suggested that this year's graduating class give a practical gift to the school and pay to fix that, and similar, problems, rather than "putting down bricks on the quad."


Likewise, third year Megan Mueller relates that the women's bathroom near the leather lounge is often in bad shape. She explains that there is no soap dispenser, one of the stall doors doesn't close, and the counters are always full of water. Megan is especially bothered by these problems because "this is the bathroom that visitors will most likely use, so its bad condition reflects poorly on the school." She also notes that in all of the bathrooms, "the toilet paper dispensers don't rotate, so if the first roll runs out you're in trouble."


Third year Dan Straga agrees that the there is a problem with the bathroom sinks. However, unlike Megan, he doesn't find this so much aggravating as he does amusing. He says, "while I first thought it would be great if all the sinks in the bathroom functioned, I then realized that I really get great amusement from watching other people get frustrated because the sinks aren't working; thus, I'd actually like the sinks to remain in their current state." Unlike Straga, however, many students would like to have all the sinks work properly.


Another idea that Deric may espouse for a practical class gift would be to fix the chairs and/or booths in the hard and soft lounges. As many students have discovered, unlike most booths, when you crash down in one of the hard lounge variety, it hurts. Not only is the cushion several inches thin, many of them have begun falling off leaving nothing but the hard bench below. In addition, many of the chairs in the soft lounge are in need of repair to stop them from making noise every time someone sits in them or shifts their weight. According to Julia, the chair squeaking is what really gets me, every time I have to play musical chairs to find an acceptable one to sit on!


While none of these problems are serious, they certainly give law students something to talk, and complain, about. Further, with the cost of a GW education so high, many believe that they should not have to deal with them everyday. If students would like to complain formally about these or any other maintenance problems, they can do so by contacting the SBA.


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