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Wednesday, Dec. 17, 10:39 a.m.
Opinion

Editorial: Campus Crest’s response to residents of Grove a good start, but more needed

At this point, none of us are strangers to the issues that have surfaced for so many student tenants of The Grove, a Campus Crest-run apartment complex in Orono. Problems with unfinished or damaged unit interiors, as well as concerns about mold in some apartments, have left students more or less underwhelmed by the quality of their living quarters.

Whether the most recent offending scenario — several power outages rendering the temperature of some apartments downright inhospitable — was really just an electrical problem that could have happened to anybody is unfortunately not a compelling defense at this point. And the offhanded mention of doors and/or windows possibly warranting replacement is not a suitable deflection of concerns about the integrity of the structures’ design.

In fairness, Campus Crest did submit an apology for inconvenience they conceded had been caused for its clients by the power failure. As a gesture of goodwill, they will credit $50 to each affected tenant’s February rent. This is certainly a commendable symbol of their desire to provide high customer satisfaction, but it is one thing to give lip service to service and another thing to render those services listed among your contractual obligations.

Unfortunately, the maintenance methods exhibited around the complex so far have painted their policies as being quick fixes for symptoms that seem to indicate bigger, underlying problems with the company’s actual physical structures and their style of structural fixes. Dehumidifiers were used in the fall to remove moisture from the air in some apartments, but nothing was done to address the root cause of its production: the carpeting. This sort of obvious neglect tends to make people feel disrespected, not to mention damp and, now, cold — the ultimate trifecta of misery.

On too many occasions, students have felt their concerns were snubbed or dismissed by the higher-ups in The Grove’s management. It would be unwise to assume that a $50 check for each of the residents is the extent of the accountability they ought to demonstrate in response to the latest instance of their dropping the figurative ball. Failing to respond by implementing more effective communication practices will simply result in a mass exodus of deeply unsatisfied students, come the end of the lease period, as well as a resurgence of bad press, vis-á-vis scathing Facebook status updates. Be warned: Hell hath no fury like a liberal arts student’s scorn.