Are the Living Conditions in Lucy Laney Up to Standard?

Written by: Asha Gunter

Reflecting on the living conditions in one of Lincoln University’s residence halls may influence the school to make changes to improve existing conditions in dorm halls.

HBCUs are home to many young Black people who are able to come together and be unapologetic in expressing their culture. While attending the first HBCU, the illustrious Lincoln University, students experience new opportunities like attending fellowships, joining diverse clubs and organizations, and learning more about their respected majors.

Although Lincoln University is filled with various opportunities and has recently been among seven HBCUs to receive twelve grants totaling to more than $33.5 million to enhance their technology infrastructure. There are still many changes that need to be made in dorm halls like Lucy Laney to improve living conditions for the students.

Lucy Laney Hall has been open to upper-class and freshmen ladies since 1967. However, since then there has only been one renovation to the rooms, where air conditioning units were installed. According to students who live in Laney, there are still many issues that need to be fixed in the dorm hall. 

I interviewed Sydney, who lives on the second floor of Laney, and she stated that “the water is always cloudy when I go in the bathroom to wash something, and it’s a little off putting because it’s like am I washing my hair with some chemicals? Am I washing my utensils with some chemicals? The water shouldn’t be cloudy. That’s dirty.” She said, “when I am home in New York, the water does not run out cloudy, so I know that’s not normal.” 

The water system in Lucy Laney has been like this for some time now. A third-floor resident named Taylor explained how she does not like going to the bathrooms while in the residence hall. “I hate having to go into the bathroom because for one, people don’t clean up after themselves in the bathroom, two, the shower water smells like rotten eggs sometimes, and three, I don’t like walking in the hallway because it’s always smelling like pee and funk.” In the interview, she spoke about how there have been problems with the water since she moved in during her junior year.”

Along with the water conditions that needs to be improved, there was also a cause for concern about the bugs in the dorm hall. When interviewing a fourth-floor resident named Aliyah, she brought attention to there being a need to look into covering cracks in the shower celling that let flies in, and specifically she stated “The celling needs to be fixed because my room be leaking, and the fourth floor is infested with bugs. Roaches, stinkbugs, all that shit. They be coming from the bathrooms, the trash or wherever, and be crawling into people’s rooms. It’s horrible, and it’s scary.”

Photo by Asha Gunter

After this discussion that I had with those who live in Lucy Laney Hall, I believe that the school definitely needs to get involved and make some changes to improve the living conditions. Students pay too much money to go to school here, and to not be able to live in residence halls with clean water is not okay. This can easily result in health issues while living on campus. From my own personal experience, I have lived in Laney for two years, with this being my last year on campus and I have been bitten by a spider my junior year in my sleep which irritated my skin really badly, and this year I have been coughing since the start of the year from using the water to brush my teeth. Unfortunately, I have to use this water every day since I live there, so this cough has continued to come back after I get it to go away each day. 

While interviewing those who live in Laney, they also talked about the possibilities of Laney getting an elevator built into the dorm hall. They expressed that although that isn’t an urgent need, there are many flights of steps in the building, and they become a hassle when bringing up groceries and doing laundry down in the basement. 

The living conditions should improve in Lucy Laney, as well as the rest of the residence halls, if there has been a surplus of people who have experienced any health issues related to the water source that is inside of the dorm halls. Physical Plant also should look into fixing the persisting problems addressed by Laney residents like the cloudy water supply, ceiling leaks, and bug infestations that are occurring and make an effort to permanently fix these issues.

Photos by Asha Gunter


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