Woods Creek West: Unsafe and unjust

A sophomore Washington and Lee student talks with other sophomores about the “uninhabitable living situation” that is Woods Creek West

Coleman Martinson

Woods Creek West is unfit for students to live in, accord- ing to the students living in the student dorms themselves. Complaints include mold growing on the walls, broken heating and air conditioning systems and cockroaches creeping into apartments. (One student even estimated that there are more cockroaches living in Woods Creek West than students.) These are just a few of the issues with Woods Creek West. While Woods Creek East and Central underwent renovations recently, students in Woods Creek West have been left with deteriorating conditions.

The Executive Committee of the Student Body heard from students about these issues during its Oct. 1 Busi- ness Meeting. Maya Lora, ‘20, said Woods Creek West has been home to flooding, plumbing issues resulting in brown water and furniture that is falling apart. She said that it is ridiculous, unsafe and disgusting that with the endowment the school has, Woods Creek West remains un-renovated. Students in the forum applauded after she spoke, according to the minutes.

One student’s living situation was so bad that she had to switch apartments entirely–but only after she received a letter from a doctor saying that her health was worsening.

Annie Echols, ‘21, said the location of Woods Creek combined with the humidity and some sealant issues on the windows make it a border- line uninhabitable living situation.

“I found a wall of mold in my room which translated to some serious health issues,” Echols said. “It took facilities over a week to actually try [to] fix the problem. I ended up having to move out and now I live all alone. I think due compensation should’ve been awarded to stu- dents who got stuck here.”

Students living in Woods Creek West pay the same amount for housing as students who live in the newly renovated Woods Creek East and Woods Creek Central.

Isabel Chiodo, ‘21, a resident in the building, said she understands how slow the renovation process can be, but that she is frustrated with how the school handled the situation.

“The living situation is far worse than it needs to be for an un-renovated building,” Chiodo said. “It made me feel cheated, especially considering the amount of money I pay to go to this school. Why should we have to go through this whole terrible situation on top of all of our academic needs and expectations?”

I reached out to the Executive Committee and spoke with President Elizabeth Mugo, ‘19, about the progress the EC has made in dealing with the issues. She said the EC has been meeting with the board and the administration to present various problems.

“The issues were brought to the board during the Oct. 5 campus life committee meeting,” Mugo said. “We have been making sure that the concerns are going to the right channels. I touched base with [Dean] Sidney Evans about what it is looking like, and it will be renovated in this next year. Any students living currently in the building can contact facilities and they should be addressing the concerns.”