UNA maintenance responds to complaints


Alex Hopper, Staff Writer

This semester, students have issued complaints to the maintenance department about unclean residence halls here at the University of North Alabama. The complaints have ranged from insect infestations to urine in the parking deck and some residents have felt their complaints have gone unnoticed. 

“I haven’t really seen much evidence of maintenance this year in the dorms,” said Shea Philips, a Hawthorn resident. 

Philips, explained that her pod has personally had trouble contacting maintenance to address their problems. 

“Our first week we were here we discovered what we believed were brown recluse spiders,” said Philips. “After contacting maintenance twice and putting in a couple of requests they never came.”

After dealing with the spiders, Philip’s pod believed their troubles were over until they had a similar issue with ants. No one from maintenance came to fix the problem, leading them to take matters into their own hands and spray their rooms themselves. 

“One of my pod mates had a leak around her window,” said Philips. “A guy from maintenance did come, only to say he would have to come back and fix it…he never came back.” 

Michael Gautney, the Assistant Vice President of Facilities Administration and Planning, spoke to these complaints and explained what actions the maintenance department is taking to resolve them. 

The Facilities Administration and Planning provides support to all areas on campus as it relates to environmental services, with the residence halls having their own staff to handle these issues. 

Gautney ensures that the cleanliness of campus is a top priority, and that every effort is being made to ensure all areas on campus are receiving the appropriate care. 

“… There may be areas on campus that do not get the attention that they need,” said Gautney. “As these are identified by visual inspections and notifications from the campus community.”

Gautney explained that he hasn’t received many complaints regarding the residence halls. Since the maintenance department needs to be notified to be able to resolve an issue, a lack of reporting may have led to a lapse in cleaning efforts.  

Gautney said that his department has reached out to the staff in Housing and Residence Life to hopefully resolve the complaints issued. He ensured that UNA has a comprehensive pest control plan and he will reach out to the contractor to evaluate the residence halls. 

“I was very impressed last year with how well Olive [a dorm building at UNA] was kept up,” said Philips. “I remember always walking down the hall and seeing a janitor who was working away.”

Philips does consider that this difference in maintenance could be contributed either by the difference in dorms or the added responsibility of COVID-19 sanitization. 

“Things are definitely different concerning COVID,” said Philips. “There is so much time needed for sanitization and not enough to keep things as kept up.”

Philips doesn’t believe that any lapse in cleaning efforts have been extended around the rest of campus though. 

“Outside of the dorms, areas seem to be very clean,” said Philips. “UNA is typically a very clean and beautiful campus. That is one of the major draws of coming here.”

Another student, Julia Garrett, agrees that the common areas on campus are well maintained, especially in relation to COVID-19 precautions. 

“Although this is a very hard time,” said Garrett. “The school is doing a great job trying to handle it well.”

Within the classroom, Garrett feels the University’s effort to keep campus clean.

Along with the Maintenance Department’s normal responsibilities, they now have the added responsibility of COVID-19 precautions. Gautney also speaks to these changes. 

“Specific changes in procedures have been directed through campus communities,” Gautney said. 

He explained that both the Environmental Services and Housing Environmental services departments have been trained on various cleaning methods necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

Though there have been complaints from students about other places on campus, both Philips and Garrett haven’t seen many issues first hand in any common areas. Gautney also ensures that any issues that do arise and are reported will be dealt with.