Dobie Twenty21, Jester West residents report uncomfortable room temperatures

Abbie Bard and Morgan Severson

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the Feb. 21, 2022 flipbook.

Students living in Jester West and Dobie Twenty21 University housing say they’ve spent months living with hot temperatures inside their rooms.  

University Housing and Dining has always managed Jester West, but began managing Dobie Twenty21 on Feb.1 after UT purchased the building last October in an effort to expand affordable student housing. Lately, students living at these facilities have experienced uncomfortably hot temperatures.

While the rooms at Dobie Twenty21 do not have thermostats, economics sophomore Zach Lee said he experienced what feels like 85 degree temperatures in his room.

“I have to stand in front of my fans most of the time because I’ll just start sweating,” Lee said. “It’s just really uncomfortable.”

Even after buying two fans — one for each side of his room — Lee said that his room temperature has impacted his academic life because he has to go on campus to find buildings with more suitable temperatures. 

“Usually I do a lot of my studying and homework here at Dobie,” Lee said. “But since it’s been like this, I’ve started to go to the PCL for hours at a time because it’s a normal temperature in there.” 

Sustainability studies freshman Melissa Moya said she dealt with similarly hot temperatures in her Jester West dorm last semester, and also purchased two fans because of the issue.

“I’d wake up in the middle of the night sweating,” Moya said. “And it was awful because we can’t control the temperature at all.”

Donald Ates, director of residential facilities at UHD, said he has not noticed any maintenance request forms regarding the issue.    

“So far, I haven’t heard of (any) temperature swings,” Ates said. “If we get (maintenance request forms) we normally address them through the work order system.”

Per UHD policy, the University must complete maintenance requests within 48 hours of their submission, but Ates said he aims to complete these requests within 24 hours of submission.

“We’ve got a system that I will go in and check,” Ates said. “These residents mean a lot to me and I want to make sure they’re taken care of.”

Ates said students experiencing temperature issues in their room should submit maintenance requests and talk to their resident assistant or complex coordinator to make sure UHD is informed about the issues.  

Moya said the temperatures became more manageable in November as the weather outside began to cool down, but that she is unlikely to live in University-managed housing again. Lee, who is still regularly experiencing hot temperatures, also said he won’t be staying at a UHD facility after his lease is up.

“It makes me really frustrated for paying (the) amount that I pay and not having basic amenities, just basic stuff that you should have in an apartment building or even a dorm,” Lee said. “I wouldn’t say this is the sole reason, but this definitely added to it. I’m not going to be staying at any other University-owned buildings in the future at all.”