It is no secret that a great part of UPRM’s infrastructure is not in the best conditions. Being affected by a combination of hurricanes and negligence, students have been left wondering why the administration has seemingly avoided tackling the need for maintenance. As means of confronting this situation, Nursing undergraduate student, Bruce Álvarez, sent out a petition last Monday, to administrative officials, including the campus interim rector, Ar. Wilma Santiago, calling for the repair of faults in the Enfermería building.
In the missive, Álvarez, alongside fellow Nursing undergraduate student André Marrero, writes about the still unrepaired damages caused to the building during the passage of Hurricane María last September. Amongst the damages, Álvarez and Marrero point out the broken skylight, that has since been covered by plywood and plastic since last year. The state of the skylight causes rain—an atmospheric event that is almost synonymous to Mayagüez—to pour into the building’s lobby, leaving the space inaccessible for students, faculty members, and visitors.
The broken skylight.
The students follow with pointing out the population of birds that have made home of the building since the hurricane broke the netting that was supposed to prevent them from entering. They state the birds pose a threat to the health of the campus community, as their fecal matter could potentially spread histoplasmosis, a disease that affects the respiratory system.
Álvarez and Marrero, apart from their own statement on the topic, include two letters written by other Nursing students on the conditions of the building’s elevator, that has been broken since November of 2015. In the letters—dated from 2017—the students urge the administration to fix the elevator, as its absence impedes them from being able to assist their classes on the second floor, due to both being in recovery from surgeries. They state that due to the elevator being out of service, they find themselves obligated to run the risk of hurting themselves by taking the stairs.
The flooded lobby.
The letter ends with Álvarez and Marrero hoping that the administration takes the initiatives necessary to improve the conditions of the Enfermería building.
With the budget cuts imposed on the University of Puerto Rico by the board established in the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act and the recent questionable campus expenses, the college community is left wondering if the administration is properly working towards the betterment of the campus.
The situation gripping the University of Puerto Rico is continuously becoming harder, so we can only hope that the administrative officials place the best interest of the community above personal or economic interests.