Students struggle to get maintenance assistance in campus apartments

photo of channing bowditch
Nora Povejsil/Staff
UC Berkeley students living in campus's apartment complexes have raised concerns regarding issues with maintenance requests.

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Some students living in campus apartments have been struggling with repair assistance due to understaffing in maintenance departments.

According to a UC Berkeley subreddit page, some residents of campus’s Channing-Bowditch Apartments have been living with broken lights and plumbing problems for a few weeks. Attempts to contact the emergency maintenance team have been unsuccessful, according to the post thread, with students reportedly being told the maintenance team is understaffed and unable to provide a timeline for response to requests.

Administrative assistant for Unit 1 Mariano Enriquez echoed this explanation, saying maintenance departments for campus housing are having understaffing issues which may cause delays in assistance.

Staffing shortages may be caused by pandemic-related issues as well as the “timelines needed” for hiring new staff, according to campus spokesperson Adam Ratliff. The pandemic has also caused supply shortages nationwide, he added, leading to delays in the shipping of needed materials to campus.

“Overall, we are working to ramp up operations and staffing after reduced operations during the pandemic last academic year,” Ratliff said in an email.

Unit 3 custodian Gloria Morales said in addition to being short-staffed, custodians have an increased workload as they need to ensure that areas are infected and sanitized multiple times a day.

“We work harder now,” Morales said. “Some co-workers might have separate appointments outside of work and UC is short on workers, so we have to do more jobs outside of our areas to cover for other workers.”

If residents haven’t received a response from maintenance despite reaching out, Ratliff noted that students can re-report issues on a maintenance request form online or consult their resident assistant.

Enriquez added that students can submit a work order online or reach out to unit front desks.

“We are committed to providing maintenance service for all of our residents in Cal Housing,” Ratliff said in the email. “We are working to build up our Facilities staff so that we can more quickly respond to and address issues reported by residents.”

Lauren Cho is a general assignment reporter. Contact them at [email protected].