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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Elevator outage in Modern Theater sparks student frustration

Maren Halpin
Modern Theater Residence Hall’s elevator has been out of commission for seven weeks.

There are five elevators in Suffolk University’s 10 West/Modern Theatre dorm building, but the seventh through 11th floors of Modern Theatre are reachable by just one. Since the weekend of Sept. 16, Modern Theatre’s top five floors have been without any elevator services, forcing affected students to ride another of the four elevators to the sixth floor and walk up the stairs to their floor.

Sophomore Xander Williams spoke about when the elevator broke and how unorganized it was. 

“I was very upset when the elevator didn’t work, and there was seemingly no way to get up besides walking 11 floors because there were no signs. I walked up the 11 flights until someone showed me not to,” Williams said. 

Suffolk’s Department of Residence Life sent out an email to Modern Theatre residents Sept. 27 and explained that actions have been taken since Sept. 18, but due to the nature of the problem, the timeline to fix it was extended.    

“On Monday, September 25, while the teams were completing repairs, the elevator seized, which means we now need to replace the machine before we can replace the two parts that were scheduled to happen this week,” the email said.

Residence Life told students the elevator would be fixed by Oct. 18, but then extended the date to the week of Oct. 30.

“Work has now resumed, however the delay means the final approval for use has been pushed back into the week of October 30th to November 3rd,” the Department of Residence Life wrote in another email sent Oct. 17 to Modern Theatre residents.  

An email sent to affected students Nov. 2 outlined the final steps of the process with a tentative date to reopen the elevators the week of Nov. 6. 

“While we encountered some delays along the way, we are emailing today to share that we are now preparing to complete the last of the previously identified required work and are scheduling a final inspection with the City of Boston. While we are doing all we can to expedite these final processes so that the elevator will be back in operation early next week, please know that the inspection process and timeline is scheduled around the City’s availability and not our own,” the email read. 

Due to the delays, the residents of Modern Theatre have been without an elevator for roughly a month and a half. Sophomore computer science major Gabriel Maldonado’s biggest complaint is the difficulty he faces transporting his guitar.  

“Bringing it up and down has been a complete hassle and I’ve been contemplating switching rooms so I could keep practicing or just quit until they fix the elevators because I don’t want to be lugging around the guitar up five flights of stairs,” said Maldonado. 

At the end of a long day, having to walk up the stairs is starting to become a bigger burden for sophomore criminal justice major Leah Wagner. 

“I twisted my ankle so bad last week going to work and when I came back here going up the stairs was much harder than it should’ve been,” said Wagner. 

The university said it strives to accommodate students throughout the outage.

“Our goal is to meet the needs of all of our students. Students with physical disabilities, as well as any student impacted by the elevator outage in the Modern Theatre, can be assigned a different room,” said University Spokesperson Greg Gatlin.

Residents have felt that the Department of Residence Life’s communication has left students with many questions. Brooke Skinner, a sophomore biochemistry major, said the ordeal has been frustrating, especially because she said she doesn’t see an end in sight. 

“They’ve given us a date it might be fixed but nobody is confident it will be fixed by then. The fact that they didn’t tell people the situation about the elevator for a week shows it’s an afterthought,” said Skinner.

Wagner also doesn’t feel that the department’s priorities are in the proper place.  

“I have a running joke that it’s not going to be fixed until winter break and I’m starting to think that it’s not funny anymore. It feels like there’s construction everywhere but our elevator. I wish they would prioritize it a little bit more, but we don’t know how much of a priority it is,” said Wagner. 

Gatlin said the university acknowledges the impact of the outage, but emphasized the focus on safety and ongoing work to update elevators throughout campus.

“We understand that a shutdown creates an inconvenience for students and employees, but it is a necessary step to ensure the safety of the passengers. Within the last several years we have modernized many of our elevators, and we continue to make improvements,” said Gatlin.

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About the Contributor
Maren Halpin, News Editor | she/her
Maren is a sophomore print/web journalism major with a minor in political science from Milford, Massachusetts. When she’s not in The Journal office, you can usually find Maren in Suffolk’s orientation office or at an on-campus event. In her free time, she loves to go to her favorite coffee shops, listen to Noah Kahan, Hozier and Taylor Swift on repeat, explore the city and spend time with family and friends. Maren is passionate about politics and hopes to go into political journalism in the future. 

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