Melanie Hoffman: Can we FIXit? Eh, maybe later.

Everyone has his or her own complaint or knows a friend who has a complaint about FIXit. The service that is supposed to be in charge of managing repairs in order to keep student rooms in working order has proven to be unorganized, inefficient and just too slow.

While the occasional individual can survive living in GW Housing without running into a major FIXit issue, most students can personally vouch for how requests submitted to FIXit go unanswered for days, weeks and even months.

According to the FIXit Web site, “FIXit should respond to requests within 24 hours for emergency repairs and ten business days for general problems.”

This time frame is hardly ever met, but if even most requests were processed and responded to at this rate, it would still be too long. Ten business days could mean more than two weeks for non-emergency requests. Now while this might be acceptable for piddly jobs like a new light bulb, waiting up to two weeks is too long for some bigger problems that may not be considered an emergency. Especially when the difference between an emergency and non-emergency repair is a fine line.

In October, freshman Michelle Loizeaux discovered that the radiator in her Madison Hall room was wet. She called the FIXit emergency line and the operator told her that her problem did not constitute as an emergency. She would have to submit the request online and wait up to ten business days for it to be fixed.

Loizeaux submitted the request, only to notice an hour later that the radiator was in fact leaking all over the floor. She called FIXit again, only to be told that now her problem was considered an emergency and that someone would be over within 24 hours. But 24 hours? She decided to call an outside contractor instead so that all of her belongings would not be ruined. When she called FIXit one last time to notify them of this, they told her to cancel the contractor and someone showed up thirty minutes later.

Loizeaux is not the only one affected by FIXit’s incompetence. Freshman Catie Weckenman submitted a request for a new desk chair on the first day of fall semester classes and has yet to receive it. She is currently using her house proctor’s chair. Rebecca Lee, a freshman, submitted a request last week about a bird being stuck inside her air conditioner. The bird is still there and FIXit has not responded.

From these few stories and others, it is clear that something needs to be done to fix FIXit, starting off with a better system for submitting requests. The online method is okay for simple repairs like new light bulbs or clogged drains. But for repairs on items that students use everyday, like a shower, air conditioner and furniture, there needs to be a more reliable system where requests can be personally replied to within 24 hours. The automatic e-mail that a student receives after submitting a request is too impersonal and generic to have any meaning. Students want to know that their request has been read and will be taken care of in a timely matter.

SA presidential candidate Julie Bindelglass, who included improving FIXit on her platform, thinks that she is the one for the job. She says, “The uncertainty surrounding submitted FIXit requests is simply unacceptable. Students pay a lot of money to live on campus, but mold in the walls is not part of anyone’s housing agreement. I will take administrators from key University departments on a ‘Spring Cleaning House Tour’ to show them firsthand the problems that exist in the residence halls.”

So with the high rates we already pay for housing, what exactly are we getting for our money? Certainly not timely and effective repairs, that’s for sure.

The writer, a freshman majoring in business administration, is a Hatchet columnist.

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