‘I don’t really have an option’: Castilian residents experience elevators getting stuck, plummeting

Emily Hernandez

Residents of the Castilian, a 22-story student residence building owned by American Campus, noticed issues with slow elevators in August. Students regularly encountered out-of-order signs, and some were even stuck inside elevators that stalled or fell several floors.

In September, mathematics freshman Daniela Victoria boarded an elevator on the 20th floor. She said she thought something was wrong when the elevator door closed slower than normal.

“I started to freak out and it started shaking and it dropped two floors, like free fall,” Victoria said. “I was really scared. It was horrible.”

Victoria said she pressed the call button to contact management and was told to stay calm and that someone would come get her. 

“The elevator was going down again and it dropped another three floors and I started crying and shaking,” Victoria said. “If that thing dropped from floor 15 to the first floor, I was going to break every single bone in my body.”

When the elevator opened, Victoria said she took the stairs from about the 15th floor to the first floor.

“I told (management), ‘This can’t be happening. I pay rent for this. I don’t want my life to be (in danger). I need safe elevators. I don’t want to die in those things,’” Victoria said. “I couldn’t go to class because I was shaking and still crying.”

Victoria said management took notes, apologized and called firefighters and elevator repair management, but she didn’t see an out-of-order sign on that elevator until the next day.

As of publication, the Castilian has not responded to The Daily Texan’s requests for comment.

Philosophy freshman Will Hutchinson worked as a counselor for a high school debate camp this summer, for which the Castilian provided housing. Hutchinson said about 15 high school students got into an elevator one night, and it became stuck around the 11th floor.

Hutchinson said he remembers the Castilian management and an emergency elevator repair service being contacted about the incident.

“It took them about an hour and a half to two hours of waiting for the repair service to get there before they decided to have the kids climb down a ladder from the 11th floor to the first floor,” Hutchinson said.

Sometimes an elevator will stall with open doors on one floor, indicating it is not operating correctly. International relations freshman Ganeev Kaur said she made the mistake of getting in one of these elevators on the 13th floor about two weeks ago.

“(The elevator) would go from the 13th to the 22nd and then go back, up and down,” Kaur said. “It would try to open but then there would be all of these noises, and it wouldn’t open. I took the stairs for a solid week after that.”

Kaur said she requested help through a phone call. When help arrived after an hour, Kaur said the Castilian management made sure she was okay, wrote a note to her professor, immediately sent out a warning email and posted an out-of-order sign on the elevator.

Victoria said she continues to use the elevators because she lives on the 20th floor, but she does not use the one that fell.

“I have to (keep using the elevators),” Victoria said. “I don’t really have an option.”