Elevators have their ups and downs, but when they are frequently broken or out of order, the inconvenience can push student’s buttons.
Maintenance issues are common at any university, but the elevators across Chapman’s campus are often out of order or not working properly. Student complaints have brought attention to the discussion about accessibility for all students.
While some students use elevators for convenience, others rely on them to access all floors of a building.
“I physically cannot get from point A to point B without [an elevator],” said sophomore music and psychology double major Abbey Umali, who uses a wheelchair. “If it’s broken, what am I supposed to do?”
Umali opted to attend Chapman because it was more accessible than her top choice, Point Loma Nazarene University.
But she soon found that just because we have elevators on premise doesn’t mean they’re always functioning. The elevator in Doti Hall has broken two times this semester, according to Umali, and has caused her to be late to her cognitive psychology class. Due to this inconvenience, Umali said she had to wait until the elevator was fixed to attend her class. Luckily, her professor has been understanding and have yet to mark her down for tardiness.
On another occasion last year, Umali said that the elevator attached to Randall Dining Commons was out of order for twelve consecutive days. After calling maintenance numerous times and being told that they were waiting on a specific part to fix the elevator, Umali was forced to spend more Panther Bucks than she had budgeted for. Randall Dining Commons reimbursed her with $50 for the inconvenience, she said.
“Nobody is trying to keep me from doing things, that’s just the way society works right now,” she said.
Umali’s biggest concerns, however, are buildings on campus that have no elevators at all. The Davis Apartments, where Umali currently resides on the first floor, do not have elevator access.
“I have friends in my building on upper floors and I never go see them,” she said. Umali also mentioned that Morlan Hall, where she lived last year, does not have an elevator either.
Buildings with more than three stories and 3,000 square feet are required to have an elevator, according to Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Currently, Davis Apartments has three floors and Morlan Hall has two, according to Umali.
One of the elevators in Sandhu Residence Center was out of order on April 9th for a majority of the day.
“Time is the most precious thing and I don’t want to waste time waiting for elevators,” said junior strategic and corporate communications major Kerry Lei in response to the broken elevator.
Lei said that she wasn’t aware of the maintenance that occurred on Tuesday, which led her to wait much longer than she had intended.
“If an elevator is broken, they should have a notice on each floor so I know to take the stairs,” she said. Lei also noted that the Sandhu elevators had experienced numerous issues throughout the year, but said that the latest occurrence lasted longer than usual.
“Sometimes it was not working but it would just last a couple hours, but this time it lasted for two days,” she said.
While there are a variety of factors that can contribute to an elevator not working properly, the elevator in Sandhu was out of order due to a door malfunction, according to Associate Vice President of Facilities Management Rick Turner.
“Elevators have various safety sensors that shut down their operation based on certain components within the cars,” he wrote in an email to Prowl.
Service calls or work requests are prioritized based on the type of call, Turner said. Elevator service calls fall under the emergency category and are responded to accordingly, he said.
“In all cases a service vendor is contacted and, depending on the level of that call, a technician will be dispatched to make repairs,” Turner said.
Turner said that he was unaware of any other elevators on campus being out of order and had not heard of any major complaints about accessibility for students.
“Accessibility in our facilities is a high priority for our campus and we work hard to keep equipment functioning to avoid issues for student with mobility issues” he said. “If we’re made aware of equipment issues, we take care of it as quickly as we can.”
Turner did not respond to follow up questions regarding how many reports of broken elevators there have been this year or if the elevators on campus are properly licensed.