Flood raises monetary liability

On Feb. 15, Hickory Hall residents experienced a flood caused by a frozen sprinkler pipe that had burst on the second floor.

Student-owned items, valuable in both price and sentiment, were ruined in the flooding.

Pitt-Johnstown may not be liable for any damaged items.

Resident assistants collected damaged-item lists from students that were then given to Housing and Residence Life Director Mark Dougherty. It is unclear what is to become of these lists.

Textbooks, a photo album and tax forms were said to be ruined, as well as electronics.

Facilities Management Director Andrew Walbeck said that the building damages included only a few ceiling tiles.

Students may have to bear the full financial burden of items that may not be so easily replaced, with little or no university help.

According to the Pitt-Johnstown 2014-2015 Housing and Dining Services Contract, “The University will not be held liable, either directly or indirectly, for loss of and/or damage to the personal property of individual.   

“It is recommended that insurance be carried by each student or his/her parent(s) against loss and/or damage of personal property.”

Affected student Tessa Spearing said she wondered why residents were not covered by or given the option to buy renter’s insurance from the university.

Last year, similar water issues occurred in both Maple and Hemlock Hall, damaging students’ belongings.

Former Maple Hall resident Alex Taylor said a sprinkler bursted in the hall last year, damaging students’ belonging.

So, why doesn’t the university provide renter’s insurance options to students living on campus? How many times do students have to suffer damage and loss of important items before this service is considered?

The availability to purchase renter’s insurance may make students feel more secure, as they would be aware of what has repeatedly happened in various residence halls and know that they are covered for such events.

This also would demonstrate a greater concern for many students to university officials.

Students pay a lot of money to reside on campus, but no funds are reciprocated from the university when student items are ruined by campus housing quality.

Before students pay to live on campus, they should know what they may be in for.