Editorial: The University’s transparency is imperative to ensuring students’ health and safety
From complaints of mold growing in Ziv Quad dormitories to the mice infestation in Gordon Hall, it is safe to say that Brandeis’ infrastructure is crumbling.
While one notices signs of construction across campus, this should not be mistaken for signs of progress when it comes to the low-quality housing present at Brandeis. Students contend with mold, mice infestations and water contamination, notable in Brown Social Science Center. As if this were not enough to add to students’ frustrations, the University has neglected to effectively communicate with students regarding substandard and potentially hazardous living and dining situations, as most recently observed with the temporary closure of Lower Usdan dining hall.
On Oct. 14, Brandeis University Services sent out an email to students stating that “Usdan Dining Hall and a section of the Hoot Market are currently closed as repairs are being made to the ceiling above that space.” This email was sent out days after students were informed that Lower Usdan was temporarily closed through communication with Sodexo staff members. Besides the Oct. 14 email and the subsequent reopening of the Usdan dining hall, students remain in the dark about the particulars of what transpired to cause the dining hall to shut down for two weeks.
Since the reopening of the dining hall, a member of this editorial board, who eats lunch in Lower Usdan daily, has witnessed water dripping from the ceiling as they try to eat.
This editorial board calls on the University to be more transparent with students about Brandeis’ current state of infrastructure, and, when necessary, explicitly communicate to students when a situation may be hazardous to their health. We understand as some situations develop in real-time, it may be challenging to send out updates.
However, comprehensive emails with significant updates are imperative to students’ health and safety.
Brandeis is not alone when it comes to its compromised infrastructure and lack of transparency. Across the country, various incidents have been surfacing as students from Howard University, George Washington University, Villanova University and Ohio State University have reported subpar housing situations. In all of these cases, including those at Brandeis, students were not aware of the conditions they would be exposed to before moving into their dorms for the 2021 fall semester.
After almost two years of experiencing a global health crisis, one would think universities across the country would be even more vigilant in ensuring that student living spaces are up to health and safety standards.
Considering the cost of housing at Brandeis for the 2021-2022 academic year ranges from $1,880 to $13,320, this editorial board and students across campus expect Brandeis to invest and maintain a standard of living that allows all students to thrive in a safe and healthy environment.
As both students and customers of this institution, we expect more from the University to maintain our health and safety, and currently, we are not receiving that.