Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

At Washington Tower, elevator safety is in doubt

Elevator service is far from trustworthy
Collegian File Photo

Two weeks ago, I took the elevator in Washington Hall up to the 16th floor. Seconds after getting on, I was faced with my greatest fear: The elevator stopped working.

Word had been spreading through the dorm that the elevator system was faulty. Stories of students getting stuck had been spreading since move-in day. It wasn’t until I was standing in an elevator, panicked because the doors were malfunctioning, that I realized the severity of the situation.

Just a few weeks prior to my experience, one of the three Washington elevators stopped at the third floor and never came down. It has yet to move, leaving only two to transport students to 22 floors. About a week after, a group of students encountered a similar experience to mine on a Friday night. Packed into one of the two elevators that were running, a cluster of 19- and 20-year-olds were on their way down to the lobby when their lift suddenly stopped in between floors. The doors remained shut and moments after, the elevator dropped.

“It was terrifying,” sophomore communication major Sheila Lynch said. “It must have dropped three or four floors by the time the doors finally opened.”

Another sophomore in the same elevator as Lynch recounted her experience as well. “Everyone was freaking out,” Marissa Parrella, a student in the school of management, stated. “We were all pressing the fire department call button but no one was answering. I must have pressed the button trying to open the doors a hundred times before it fell.”

Students living in Washington aren’t the only ones experiencing the terrors of the UMass elevator system either. Freshman journalism major Ana Pietrewicz said it was only her third day on campus when she was in a library elevator going up to the ninth floor when it suddenly halted. She claims the inside door opened, but the outside doors remained shut.

“I was so nervous,” Pietrewicz recalled. “I looked at a librarian who was with us all and asked her what to do, she told me to just wait and that this stuff happens all the time.”

A few days ago, the residential assistants in Washington sent out an email informing us that there will be a day in the near future where none of the three Washington Tower elevators will be operational. Although the reason for this is to fix the elevators, I can’t help but question why such drastic repairs are necessary in the first place, and why it took a month for this small piece of information students have received.

Why were the elevators not repaired or renovated before hundreds of students moved into the dorm? None of the students in Washington knew because nobody notified us. There were no emails or warnings posted giving insight on the issue, not even after problems arose. I reached out the resident director and assistant resident director for further information, but received no response.

If by some chance the dorm faculty did not see or realize a problem with the elevator system beforehand, something should have been done immediately after the first elevator broke down in the tower. Although not running the elevator at all prevents students from getting stuck, it also takes away a level of accessibility sorely needed by students.

With 22 floors of students in the hands of the University, safety should be a number one priority in Washington. Students shouldn’t have to wonder every time they step into an elevator if they’re going to make it to the ground without any problems. None of us should be questioning whether our dormitory’s elevator will fall to the ground.

As a student attending this university, I don’t pay thousands of dollars to be here for broken elevators that don’t get fixed for nearly a month, and I certainly don’t enjoy not receiving any information on the matter either.

Kacey Connolly is a Collegian contributor and can be reached at [email protected].

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  • E

    EdOct 8, 2018 at 4:03 am

    Those elevators have been problematic ever since they were installed — some 50 years ago.
    People have stepped into empty shafts and fallen to their deaths.
    And as to inspections, don’t make me laugh.

  • J

    John DenverOct 4, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    Don’t listen to Amy. They seem like a miserable person whose opinions are only defamatory and nonsensical. Great article!

  • A

    AmyOct 3, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    It’s called the office of public safety and inspection. I will call for the columnist so I don’t have to worry about being stuck in an elevator(and worst of all with him, I can’t imagine what a conversation with him would be like, maybe something along the lines of talking with Linkovich Chomovsky

  • A

    AmyOct 3, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    Whoever wrote this column is an idiot; why would you write a newspaper column about a serious safety concern? To wait days and as you state this elevator problem happened weeks ago???

    Do you know, I guess some of our fellow students are a bit dense; that on EVERY elevator is a plaque with a certificate….stating the elevator was inspected….when…who inspected..what agency and a phone number.

    You call that number and ask for an immediate inspection of the elevators you mentioned. The fact this columnist failed to do such a common-sense thing is shokcing.

  • A

    AndyOct 3, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    Suck it up lived the 35 years ago vators sucked then. We took the stairs. If the doors did not open pried them open and went to our jobs washing dishes. Road the elavators,from ther tops not inside. You need to be tougher the world is hard time to sotp bitchen .