UH-Manoa dorm residents start school year with no hot water

Some University of Hawaii-Manoa students are starting the new school year with no hot water in their dorms. So far, they’ve been told UH is working on the problem and to heat some water in a pot in the meantime.

Raquel Lasconia said the bathroom floor of her Hale Wainani apartment is constantly soaked.

And that’s not all. “But once you turn to hot side, it turns off,” she said.

With no hot water, it means cold showers every day.

“I’m pretty mad,” Lasconia said. “I didn’t know what to do actually. I’ve been asking other students if they’ve been experiencing the same problems.”

Dorm resident Kathleen Gragasin said her ceiling leaks. “It’s kind of gross, using the bathroom with water going down your back, especially if you know it’s coming from the toilet upstairs.”

On Tuesday, the campus’ student housing services sent out a mass email, acknowledging the various problems. It said the school was hiring a plumber to look at the issues. But it also said to those who didn’t have hot water “if you absolutely cannot have a cold shower or want to clean dishes and the like, you might want to get a big pot or bowl and heat up your water.”

“That’s what I did when I lived in the Philippines,” Gragasin said.

And the cost to live at Hale Wainani and share an apartment with three other students? — about $6,500 a year.

Lasconia said it “seems like I’m living in an outhouse and I’m paying way more than boiling hot water.”

KHON2 spoke to UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl about the issues raised by the dorm residents and the email suggesting students heat their water. “I think that was maybe unfortunate language,” he said, and also that school employees are not trained to communicate that way.

Meisenzahl said the housing issues could be weather-related, but it’s also what happens sometimes at the start of a new school year, a slew of problems are uncovered after dorms have been vacant for so long.

But he said the problems are being fixed. “We apologize if we offended anybody, but we’re just trying to get the information out there, and once again, we tried to address the issue as quickly as possible.”

Dorm residents do have options: Officials say students can bathe elsewhere if they don’t have hot water or even move into a different apartment. But if they have problems, they should contact student housing and the problem should be looked at within 48 hours.

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