One of the University of New Mexico residence halls, Santa Clara, experienced flooding on the first floor and basement during Sept. 17 and 18, causing disruption and concern for residents in the building. For some, the incident itself and response from UNM Residence Life and Student Housing highlighted a larger issue of vandalism in the hall that has led to frustrated students.
Ellison Walton, a Santa Clara resident, detailed the response time from emergency maintenance and housing during the initial flooding as experienced by a friend. The friend reported the flooding to the Student Resident Center Commons desk at 11 a.m. By 12:10 p.m., no one had responded to the initial call, so the friend called again and informed the desk the flooding was worsening.
“It was right on people’s doors, and it had gotten into one resident’s room. Her room was starting to flood. The resident who was making the calls and his roommate had gone to her and let her know that her room was almost about to get flooded a little before it actually started entering her room,” Walton said.
The Daily Lobo received a recording from an anonymous source involved with student housing that indicated the firefighters who assessed the situation at Santa Clara recommended evacuating students. Housing denied this request, though, moving only the students whose rooms were affected by the flooding, according to the recording.
The flooding was a result of an individual or group of individuals deliberately clogging the toilets and showers in the first-floor men’s bathroom, DeAnna Padilla, assistant director of Residence Life and Student Housing, wrote to the Daily Lobo.
“This caused an initial backup that resulted in water and waste material overflowing in the shower stalls, toilet area, and into the hallway and basement laundry facilities below the restroom,” Padilla wrote. “As for the ‘second’ leak — we learned that additional plumbing work was required to fully resolve the initial plumbing issues. To ensure there are no potential risks of more flooding, we have hired All Fired Up Plumbing Company to evaluate our plumbing and give us any necessary recommendations.”
The act of vandalism that caused the flooding was not the only incident of vandalism Santa Clara has seen in the last few months. Since last spring, the residence hall has seen a string of vandalistic acts where groups of people have broken into rooms and thrown in various food items such as raw eggs and opened cans of corn, according to Walton.