Nearly a month after an ongoing heat outage led administrators to cancel in-person classes, some students at Bronx Community College say they’ve gone from one extreme to the other.
“I have to sometimes wear clothes that aren’t for the weather outside because it’s too hot in the room,” Maxieli Lingua, a freshman, said.
She and other students were forced to suddenly shift to online classes last month because of heating problems.
Students were allowed back on campus on after the Thanksgiving break and a Bronx Community College spokesperson says the college’s three boilers are now up and running. A back-up boiler has also been brought on campus.
The disruption came at a cost for some students.
“That knocked me off because I can’t adjust to change as quickly as they expected me to. So, I didn’t do too much within that week productivity-wise and I hope that it does get better,” Naomi Montesdeoca, a freshman, said.
Some faculty members say the college’s heating problems are part of a larger issue of infrastructure neglect, disinvestment and lack of funding throughout CUNY, and that students are paying the price.
“As long as I’ve been at CUNY, it’s been under-funded and the effect has been cumulative,” Sharon Utakis, an English professor at the college, said. “Repairs get deferred, and so then they become more expensive, and then they get put off even longer, and then they do like a half fix instead of fixing it completely, so it’s a serious underfunding issue.”
Last week, Utakis and other members of the union that represents academic workers joined student leaders to demand that Gov. Hochul increase funding for community colleges by $78 million.
They’re also asking the city council to reject Mayor Eric Adam’s spending proposed cuts, citing staffing shortages and facility closures like the shuttered cafeteria at Hostos Community College, that they say deprive students of a quality education.
“We need more money to improve the buildings, to have enough staff,” Utakis said.
Students say it’s not too much to ask for a learning environment that is safe and comfortable.
Speaking of the heating problems and other issues, Lingua added, “it’s a community college [and] I know that’s what I would expect but like it shouldn’t be like that, because it’s a college.”