— HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — A dormitory for female students at Alabama A&M University has been without hot water for several weeks, and the same students endured the warmest March in more than 100 years without air conditioning.
The air conditioning has been repaired at Palmer Hall but there is no timetable to restore hot water, according to Alabama A&M Vice President Wendy Kobler.
Students at Palmer Hall have been offered the opportunity to move to nearby Thomas Hall in the middle of the semester, but 95 students have chosen to remain at Palmer. Kobler said she didn't know how many students chose to move.
Parmecia Jones is a two-time graduate of Alabama A&M whose daughter is a freshman at A&M and lives in Palmer. Jones said she has heard little concern from Alabama A&M administrators about dorm conditions.
"I just feel like nobody cares," said Jones, who declined to provide her daughter's name. "(Administrators are) not having to live in that situation and they don't have a child living in that situation."
To shower or use hot water, students at Palmer have to cross Buchanan Way in the northwest corner of the campus to enter Thomas Hall.
The problem, Kobler said, is the boiler at Palmer Hall stopped working.
"You can't just go to Walmart or Home Depot and buy a part," Kobler said Tuesday. "A part has to be fabricated for that. Of course, we can wish for the part to be fabricated in a two-week timeline. It just depends on how long it takes to get the part fabricated."
Jones said part of her frustration is that students have been given repeated target dates for the boiler to be repaired.
Jones has complained to administrators at Alabama A&M, including President Andrew Hugine. She has asked about the students at Palmer Hall receiving a credit for the upcoming fall semester as compensation, but Kobler said no financial credits or compensation would be forthcoming.
"Being a parent, I'm really frustrated," Jones said. "I'm paying for a service and it's not rendered. I just feel like they didn't treat it as an urgent situation."
The hot water situation is the latest in a series of campus issues in recent months. Students held a protest on campus in January complaining about an array of issues and the president of the Student Government Association presented a student petition of no confidence in Hugine at a Board of Trustees meeting in February.
Jones said she is concerned about her daughter's safety because students must travel from one dorm to another to shower.
"The residence halls are separated completely geographically on campus," Kobler said. "In one area, there are the female residence halls and in the other area are the male residence halls. There have been no concerns or issues or requests for additional security."