First-year student greeted by unsanitary dorm room
Published Tuesday, September 8, 2009 6:22PM EDT
A first-year University of Ottawa student who moved into her dorm room last week says she was greeted by trash, human feces, urine and dried-up vomit.
"There was dried vomit on the living room floor, under my bed, and all over my bedroom wall. There were human feces on the bedroom wall beside my bed, as well. There is human urine (on) the living room couch and old food in the kitchen cabinets," wrote Brina Whitley in an email to CTV Ottawa.
To top it off, she said the toilet didn't work and there was old chewing gum stuck to the bathroom tub.
"University is supposed to be one of the best experiences of your life, but when you see your mother on her hands and knees scrubbing vomit from your walls, it just makes (you) want to cry because no one should have to do that," she said.
Whitley moved into her dorm room in Brooks Residence at the University of Ottawa on Sept. 2. When her family arrived, she said the room was being cleaned out by staff who told her the previous tenant left garbage in the room.
After waiting for about an hour and a half, she said staff members left her room and she was finally allowed to move in.
"My brother, my Dad and I carried all of my stuff to the room and what we were greeted with there was nothing less of a vial and disgusting mess that would bring anyone to tears," Whitley said.
"I moved my bed to see what was underneath -- there was old clothes, there was dirt everywhere and there was brown smeared stuff on the walls and I'm pretty sure it was human feces because it definitely reeked of that," she said.
Now, Whitley's family is questioning where residence fees at the university are being spent. Fees for a room at Brooks Residence range from $7,668 to $9,144 for a period of 12 months. A $700-deposit is returned to students at the end of their residence term.
"We have spent too much money on this just to roll over at something that is wrong and illegal," Whitley said.
However, the university says the case is an isolated one.
"We take these complaints very seriously and most of the time we try to turn things around very quickly," university spokesperson Andr�e Dumulon told CTV Ottawa on Tuesday.
The turnaround is particularly short for apartment-style residences, where students often sublease their rooms for the summer.
"Students are asked to leave on Aug. 31 so that we can clean on Sept. 1 and so that the other students can come in on (Sept.) 2," Dumulon said.
Brooks Residence has the capacity to house more than 700 students. On the university's website, the school says tenants are responsible for keeping their units clean.
All students are also advised to comb over their rooms and fill out a form to declare any missing or broken items and record problems with cleanliness when they move in.
"It's very important that they do that and that they submit this form so that we can actually make things better for them as quickly as possible," Dumulon said.
Whitley said she's already filled out one of those sheets.
"It was and still is horrible. These conditions brought me and my parents to tears. They said they couldn't believe that they would have to leave me here to live in this dump."