After a fire erupted in an E-wing room of O’Neill College during the evening of Nov. 21, every student in that wing had to temporarily relocate to different rooms.
Residents were unhappy with the abrupt relocation and their new living arrangements. Some students went home for Thanksgiving break before the fire occurred and were relocated after they returned to campus.
Zi Han, a sophomore business management major and resident of E-0, was reassigned to a room in Roth Quad, but instead decided to move in with his girlfriend in Wagner College since the Roth suite was solely freshmen. His girlfriend was reassigned from E-2.
“I’m not used to living in Wagner because it’s far from everything,” Han said. “When I lived in Mendelsohn, I’m next to the Union, next to the library, next to the Rec. Now I wake up a lot earlier to get to class.”
Mavely Pazmino, a senior psychology major and E-2 resident, was away when the fire took place and did not return to campus until Nov. 30. She was assigned to a triple in Benedict with two strangers when she returned. However, she was so uncomfortable with the arrangement that she decided to stay with a friend for two nights until she was allowed back into her room.
Some residents of floor E-2 were able to move back on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 11 days after the fire occurred. Other E-2 residents returned to their rooms on Dec. 4. Residents of E-1 and E-0 were informed that they would not be able to move back until next semester.
In an email to the displaced students sent during the Thanksgiving break, Mendelsohn Quad director, Steven Jubert, explained why students could not return sooner.
“The most significant delay in restoring access to rooms is in replacing room doors and lock mechanism that were damaged during the Fire Department’s response,” he said. “As the doors are fire rated, they cannot be purchased locally and need to be special ordered.”
Jen Komzyuk, a junior linguistics major and E-2 resident, decided to commute from her home 40 minutes away instead of settling into her temporary room in Chapin Apartments. She assumed the relocation would be shorter and she would be able to move back into her room after the break.
“It was so annoying to commute from home,” she said.
Residents had mixed reactions about how the Mendelsohn Quad office handled the situation.
“I think overall, the school handled it really well,” Komzyuk said. “I think that this has never happened before with so many students. It was a lot of people that they had to put in different areas.”
Rainbow Lian, a freshman health science major and E-2 resident, instead felt neglected.
“I am not satisfied with the way they handled things,” she said in an email. “They did not do much to update us with the situation or give a heads up on how they were planning on handling the situation.”
Lian was relocated to Yang Hall and was only informed several days ago that she will be able to return to her room.
“I didn’t know that I wouldn’t be able to stay the whole semester so I moved a lot of my things to Yang already,” she said.
Jessica Chin contributed reporting to this story.