Augsburg students come together to advocate for better housing
In late August Ali Garcia, a sophomore at Augsburg University made a post on Facebook to let the public know about living conditions on campus.
She says she first noticed problems the day she moved into the Morton building on campus her freshman year.
“The first day when everybody was moving in, it was so hot in that building because there is no AC and the rooms are really small - there’s like no ventilation,” said Ali. “So that was like the first red flag. As school started, it would get really really hot, to the point where you would want to rip off your clothes. You would be sweaty.”
The heat was not the only problem; Ali says she soon had to face rodents as well.
“In the first semester during the winter is when people would say ‘there’s mice running around!’ and they caught one in my friend's dorm. So I went down to the department of public safety at our school and I told them ‘Hey we have a mouse issue, is there anything that you can do?’ and they said ‘No, but we can give you mouse traps.’ And I was like ‘Really?’ Like am I going crazy, am I over-exaggerating? Is this not an issue to you?”
Ali was not the only one upset by the living conditions; she says her friends' experiences were a driving factor in her taking the problem to social media. A recent graduate who asked to remain anonymous shared her experiences living in Luther Hall.
“Second semester starts rolling around and we start seeing bugs,” she recalled. “They’re not just regular bugs, they’re baby roaches. We mainly saw them in our kitchen at first and we were like ‘Ok maybe we just have to kill them off initially and really store our food well and wash dishes,’ all that. We shifted it really fast, but the roaches still kept coming. They would crawl over our food. They would crawl on top of dishes, even after we would wash them. They would be in cupboards. They predominantly stayed in the kitchen but we would find them in the bathrooms too. In one incident I was taking a shower and I went to grab my clothes and a roach fell from the ceiling onto my clothes and I am like ‘WHAT?!’”
A statement from Augsburg University said it has an online form for complaints, and that its goal is to address those complaints within five days. The former student says the response from the school is disappointing.
“I think that they need to start listening to students to acknowledge there are department issues and it’s a matter of really validating those students who are voicing their concerns. And I understand that it is short staffed, I understand that there is not a lot of funding, and I understand that as an institution there are some things behind the scenes that we just don’t see. But at the same time these students are paying money to be here as well. Augsburg understands that the students they house and that they teach come from marginalized communities. Why have students come to a place that reflects they're still not worthy of being there?”