On the evening of Friday 23 September, Rashford Hall flooded the east wing from the fourth floor to the second floor, rendering the rooms uninhabitable and damaging residents’ property.
Residence Life sent an email Sept. 23 at 8:34 p.m. to Rashford residents on the second, third and fourth floors that were affected by flooding explaining the flooding incident “Rashford Hall was evacuated this evening in due to a broken sprinkler head which resulted in extensive flooding on the fourth, third and second floors. Contractors are on hand to begin the drying, cleaning and repair process. Until these repairs are completed, temporary accommodations are available at LaFarge.
A broken sprinkler head was identified as coming from Rashford’s fourth floor, but the cause was not disclosed by the university.
Rashford resident Alexis Westawski ’25 said she was taking a shower when she heard the fire alarms go off. “I thought there was a fire, then I walked into my common room living room,” Westawski said. “There was water coming in under the door.”
A follow-up email was sent to affected residents by Residence Life on Saturday September 28 indicating that students could check out their belongings by making an appointment for Monday October 3 and Tuesday October 4. long appointment slots and had to be accompanied by public safety officers for safety.
In the September 28 email, affected Rashford residents were told that they “would have to relocate completely and vacate your Rashford apartment for the duration of the fall semester.” Students were offered two options by Residence Life. The first option was to move entirely into their temporary accommodation at LaFarge Hall with a $1,000 reimbursement from the university and an Aramark all-access meal plan, which Residence Life says is more than the daily cost difference between living Rashford and freshman housing.
The second option for students was to apply for housing release and commute from home for the remainder of the semester. Students who choose this option will be credited for spring housing at Rashford and will receive a parking pass for the remainder of the fall semester.
Westawski said his living situation in LaFarge was much lower than his original residence in Rashford.
“It’s a freshman dorm,” Westawski said. “So I don’t enjoy living here in second year. You’re supposed to go up the ladder, you don’t come back down.
According to Isabella Korbal ’25, who lived on the third floor of Rashford, the university does not currently reimburse students for damaged property. She said her laptop was completely destroyed by the floods.
“Unfortunately, the school does not cover damages,” Korbal said. “If it’s not covered by your insurance, you’re pretty much on your own to replace anything. In all the emails they sent, there was never any communication about the damage. I know there were thousands of dollars in damage.
Westawski said she lost the iPad she took notes with for class and lost clothes damaged by floodwaters.
Adamaris Bovasso ’24, an RA on the second floor of Rashford, was eating at Campion Dining Hall when the flooding happened. When she returned to Rashford, she saw a giant crowd of students standing outside, being evacuated from their living spaces.
“They were sending groups to a number of apartments every 10 minutes because they only gave you 10 minutes to get all your stuff out of the building,” Bovasso said. “But the problem was that a lot of people weren’t on campus, or were in class, or didn’t know what was going on. So a lot of people were showing up and were really confused.”
Bovasso said she was told around 10 p.m. the evening of the flooding that her room was cleared for sleeping that night and she could continue to stay there. Although she still lives in Rashford, Bovasso said it was very different from what it should be.
“You can definitely feel the energy shift here,” Bovasso said. “It was just a very family environment. We were really starting to foster this community, but that’s definitely over now.
“Across the board, there’s definitely been a bit of annoyance with the Office of Residence Life simply because of the complexity of the situation and the lack of communication with residents,” Bovasso said. “Everyone was definitely upset and you can feel it.”
Korbal said she lived in LaFarge last year as a freshman and was not happy living there again.
“The quality of life has gone down tremendously,” Korbal said. “Obviously Rashford is newer, apartment-style accommodation. So you go from two nice non-shared bathrooms, a living room, and a kitchen to an old freshman dorm with no kitchen and run-down bathrooms.
All affected students should be able to return to their living spaces for the spring semester, according to Residence Life.
As of press time, the Office of Residence Life had not responded to multiple requests for answers to questions from The Hawk reporters. The Residential Area Manager (RAM) of Lannon and Rashford Halls declined interview requests.
On Monday October 3, a number of residents of Rashford Hall, accompanied by helpers, removed the last of their possessions from their room.
Korbal said the added stress from the flooding incident happened at the same time as the midterm exams and had a negative impact on the mental health of the students. “It definitely made me a lot more stressed and anxious,” Korbal said. “I feel like that applies to almost everyone it’s affected. It’s just not a good situation at all.
Allie Miller ’24 contributed to this story.