On-campus apartments at Campus Walk suffered from property damage last week as a result of the winter storms, and much like residents at the Retreat and the Domain, the students who live there are still dealing with the impact of this damage.
A sprinkler pipe burst in the third floor ceiling of apartment building H on Feb. 16. The floors beneath flooded and caused the evacuation of that building and surrounding apartments. While the university has sent emails to residents, it has not publicly addressed the full extent of the flood damage or a timeline for repairs.
Bobby Hudson, a public policy leadership major and Campus Walk resident, posted on Facebook that a close friend of his lived in one of the buildings that was affected.
“She and many others in the building had to rapidly evacuate with needed items and have been displaced to find housing in other Campus Walk apartments that could possibly have an extra room available,” Hudson wrote.
Hudson said he believes Oxford and the university should have prepared more adequate housing for last week’s weather, despite the historically low temperatures and conditions.
“There is no reason this should be occurring,” Hudson wrote. “You owe the students of Campus Walk an explanation and a fat check for the damage applied.”
Student Housing director John Yaun sent a letter to the residents who had to evacuate to excuse them from classes. The letter said it took time to get the fire department on the premises and have the residents move their belongings into different apartments.
“This process took many hours to complete and may have impacted students’ ability to attend classes or complete any required assignments over these past few days,” Yaun wrote.
UM spokesperson Rod Guajardo said that a member of the Student Housing maintenance staff was stationed on campus during the weather closures to handle emergency situations, and additional Student Housing staff were on site within minutes of this emergency to provide support.
“All impacted students were relocated to a new apartment within two-and-a-half hours of the initial pipe burst,” Guajardo wrote.
Guajardo added that during relocation efforts, the time frame to allow residents to collect their belongings was shortened to keep students safe from the building damage, and to also minimize impact on their personal belongings.
The last time a university owned residence experienced this level of damage was on Sept. 15, 2019, when Deaton Hall flooded as a result of a stray lacrosse ball toss. The Oxford Fire Department had the situation under control within an hour, according to Deputy Chief Adam Patton, and Deaton Hall residents said they only waited outside for around two hours until they were allowed to go back inside.
The students who were displaced in 2019 were sent to Stewart Hall, where there were vacant rooms. Guajardo said by the next afternoon that most residents had moved back into Deaton, but the day after, elevators weren’t operating and part of the ceilings had crumbled.
Mandi Bloodworth, the case manager for Student Housing, sent an email to the Campus Walk residents that were affected by the property damage, offering her services for anyone that may need it.
“I recognize that this is a difficult and stressful situation. Please let me know if you have concerns around missed classes/assignments, your health and wellness, financial concerns, etc,” Bloodworth wrote. “I’m happy to share resources or to speak further on Zoom.”