No lie: Great job! Finally some light is being shed on the deplorable living conditions at UTD's Waterview Park ("The Dorm From Hell," by an investigative reporting class at Southern Methodist University, April 28). Having lived here for three years, I am counting the days until I move out. Unfortunately, your story is not an exaggeration, despite UTD's response. I urge anyone thinking about moving into Waterview to think again.
Maybe they'll listen now: I want to thank you for writing this article. I myself am a Waterview resident, and I could tell you stories that would make your head spin. I'm glad that you brought the problems into the public eye. It wasn't enough that we the residents/students complained and voiced our concerns. Maybe now some changes can be made.
Racism in all its glory: Let me start out by saying that I am a former UTD student. I graduated last year and never lived at Waterview. I read this article to satisfy my own personal curiosity, and one of the quotes really ticked me off. Utley blames the international students' way of life for creating many of the problems. "Because a lot of the foreign students cook fish and curry, it's embedded in the walls," he says. "We have to rip the carpet out at turnover."
I am from India, and stating that the international way of life is the reason for apartment problems is just ridiculous. This is racism in all its glory, and I seriously hope something is done about this.
You spoiled brats: In response to "The Dorm From Hell," I would first caution readers about the one-sidedness of an "exposé" written by beginning writers from one school about the living conditions at a rival, quickly growing, well-respected public university that is just a few miles from where these "journalists" call home. The few maintenance complaints highlighted in the article, though concerning, are certainly the minority in a complex where thousands of students live happily semester after semester, as well as different from the great experience I had living there through my four years of college. When I visited friends at other public and private schools who were forced to live in cramped, outdated dormitories, I was very thankful that I had the opportunity to live in an apartment with full amenities right on campus. Don't get me wrong--it isn't as good as my parents buying me a loft downtown while paying for my overpriced private education, but I would have been more than happy to have had a scholarship that would have helped me pay for an apartment on campus.
I am, however, very concerned that a student who confessed to, and was indicted on, a charge of sexual assault was allowed to stay on campus until the end of the semester. I hope the article will encourage improvements in security on campus and more responsiveness to student complaints, but I would be disappointed if this deterred anyone from attending this wonderful university. In addition, if the developers of the project and the university make money from the complex, more power to them for having the foresight and ingenuity to plan and think outside the box and build a unique housing environment that benefits both the students and the university.
Steer clear: Thanks for the heads-up on the dorms. I am transferring to UTD next year and was considering moving into the Waterview apartments. When you ask about the crime rates, they act as though the dorms are heavenly and without crime. Thanks again.
Cheap and cheesy campus housing: I just wanted to thank you for allowing this article to print. I think now that the housing problems have gone public, UTD officials will do something about them. I have lived in a one-bedroom at Waterview for two years. I have lived in apartments throughout the metroplex, and living here has been my worst experience. At first I thought I would be saving money by living on campus. I have come to realize that I've spent so much more just in allergy medicine. When I confronted the office regarding the mold, they twisted it, saying that I should clean more often. I now have to Clorox sinks and the shower once a week. I can understand their response (as wrong as it may be), because it would be very expensive to clean (fix) 1,000-plus apartment units and rid them of mold and other unhealthy allergens. I truly believe that the leasing office and maintenance staff are doing the best they can with what they have. The root of all maintenance problems, in my opinion, comes from Mr. Utley and his associates allowing the contractor to use the cheapest materials available to build these apartments. The appliances in most of the apartments are very old and use up most of the electricity. I spent an entire month away during the Christmas break, turned everything off except for the refrigerator and I still got a $65 electric bill!! I complained, but nobody cared. There is no insulation in the apartment. I can feel drafts of air on windy days. Overall, it's been a nightmare. If I consider UTD for graduate school, I will not be moving back to Waterview even with free rent. Thanks again for going public with all our (resident) problems.
Blobs of blasphemy: This story was poorly written. It was extremely long and repetitive. Why were you trying to address a specific crime that happened on the property as well as the living conditions? Pick one and be more specific. It read as though each of the authors wrote their own accounts and then you all just stuck them together in a blob of blasphemy. I would be curious to hear what your intentions were when you decided to write this article.