Campus, News

Students demand improved conditions for campus storage units

BU students raised concerns about the unsanitary and unorganized conditions of the Boston University’s Allocations Board storage units that are used for several clubs on campus.

The allegations about the units located on St. Mary’s Street began in the fall semester after complaints were filed to the Dean of Students office, whose employees distribute keys to club members.

Clutter in the Student Activities Office storage unit. ZACH SCHWARTZ/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

Shannon Meehan, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences and an office assistant at the Dean of Students Office, said she personally noticed the neglected conditions that “needed to be repaired.”

“Mainly it was about pests,” Meehan said. “There were lots of rat droppings and mildew was the other main one.” 

Paige Weldon, a junior in the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and an employee at the Dean of Students Office, said another complaint was filed to the office last fall about a person who was possibly living in the unit after camping equipment was found.

“It’s not a very great situation that the lockers are in, but there’s nothing really that the Dean of Students can do about it to my knowledge, because we just rent out the keys for it and it’s all under allocations board,” Weldon said.

Weldon said the underfunding of the allocations board and complaints moving through different BU offices caused the delayed response.

“I think it’s more just a bureaucratic issue, honestly,” Weldon said. “Either it didn’t get to AB in the end from the complaint or it gets to AB but it’s someone higher up that they need to go to.”

After initially hearing the complaints, the Student Activities Office alerted facilities, who were unaware the space existed and was utilized by students, according to SAO Interim Director Margaret Babson. 

“They didn’t realize it was a space that students were going actually into more frequently,” Babson said. “That was a great opportunity to do more of a clean of the space.”

After facilities reported that the space was not “as secure as it should be,” SAO inspected the unit and found several safety concerns including equipment that was too close to fire sprinklers and blocked doorways.

“Our goal is to try and clear out that space more to be able to add in some more shelving and do more of a deep clean,” Babson said.

Thibaut Stussi, a junior in CAS and Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, said as secretary of the International Affairs Association, the timing was “really annoying” for club members because of finals and traveling at the end of the semester. 

“SAO said that they would clean it up, but it definitely does not look like they tried to because it looked very similar from before break to after break,” Stussi said. 

Stussi also added that the conditions were that he and about 10 other students in the club spent about four to five hours cleaning out the “unkept” unit and prevented the club from storing merchandise.

“We had to clean out what was literally like a full layer of debris and rat feces on the ground because it was so dense that if you would tiptoe you would step in a few pieces each step,” Stussi said. 

Sofia Bernitt, a sophomore in the College of Communication and building assistant at the Dean of Students Office said the unit’s “contaminated” air raises health concerns and more students need to be aware.

“I don’t think that they’re really going to pay any mind to it,” Bernitt said. “I think that they really have to feel more pressure from students and different offices at BU to improve the conditions.”

Babson said she was unaware of the recent complaints.

“Those concerns are helpful for us to know so that we could kind of be putting in a more consistent cleaning request,” Babson said. 

The only other storage site on campus is located on the third floor of the George Sherman Union, creating challenges for students who want to store their equipment somewhere else.

Babson said SAO plans to look into additional on-campus storage space and aims to “clean and reorganize” the current units.

SAO is now aware of the problem and does not want it to get lost among the other issues they have to manage, according to Babson. Their current plan is to clear the space and deep clean the unit by summer.

“It’s super helpful for our office to know what are the continuing problems and how can we better address them and the concerns for students,” Babson said.

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