Residents of The Castilian voice concerns about living conditions


Peyton Sims

The Castillian at the University of Texas at Austin, Feb. 2, 2023.

Sophia Kurz, General News Reporter

Residents of The Castilian, a West Campus private residential dorm owned by American Campus Communities, say they are experiencing unsatisfactory living conditions, including claims of black mold, broken elevators, broken thermostats and more.

“I’ve made most of my really good friends here, that’s a good thing,” said Castilian resident Claire Anstey. “The negatives, though, are from the first week of school. … We had no water or air conditioning. As soon as we moved in, there was something wrong.”

In addition to broken utilities in her unit, Anstey said she was offered Adderall by a non-resident man who trespassed into the building. Anstey said this incident was not the only occasion in which a non-resident was seen in the building.

“I don’t touch drugs,” dance freshman Anstey said. “It was just so embarrassing because it was in front of everyone in the laundry room. Everyone was looking at me, waiting for me to respond.”

Anstey said for the first month of classes, some of the offered amenities in The Castilian’s dining hall were not present. Anstey, who suffers from allergies to peanuts, tree nuts and shellfish, initially relied on the dining hall’s diverse food options.

“(There are few) options for each meal, which to me having allergies, isn’t necessarily good,” Anstey said. “One night, there was only peanut chicken, which I can’t eat, and shrimp. Those (were) the only two protein options. It’s very limiting for people that may have more strict dietary restrictions.”

Security and food options were not the only issues brought up by residents. Biology freshman Avery Stevenson said she and her roommates were sick all of last semester from mold that continued to grow in their bathroom even after maintenance removed it.

“You’ve got four girls taking hot showers every day, and the mold came back and there’s black mold all over the (bathroom) ceiling,” Stevenson said. “We were all sick all semester. Two of us ended up getting bronchitis because we’ve been coughing for so long.”

Upon requesting maintenance, Stevenson said they were told to take cold showers and leave the bathroom door open to allow for circulation.

“Our thermostats have been broken since the day we moved in,” Stevenson said. “There are no buttons on it.”

In response to these claims, Kate Lowery, a representative of The Castilian, said in an email that the maintenance delays were due in part to Winter Storm Elliott and supply chain issues. She also said two out of four elevators are fully-functioning, and management is working with vendors to repair the other two. 

Addressing the claims of mold, Lowery said management has “not had recurring work orders for organic growth but are proactively looking into this, following stringent protocols.” She said that the care and comfort of The Castilian residents is a top priority.

Stevenson said she thinks the residents are frustrated because of how repetitive the issues are. 

“Castilian has lots of building issues that are repetitive and continuous,” Stevenson said. “If they were happening one or two times, I think we would be like, ‘Oh, that’s so funny,’ but move on, but they just keep happening over and over again. I think that’s why a lot of residents are really upset about it.”