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Water, water everywhere and personal belongings gone missing describes College freshman and 34th Street contributor Amanda Silberling's spring semester.

In mid-February, a pipe burst behind the wall of Silberling and her roommate’s Ware dorm room. “I woke up one morning at 7 a.m. to my roommate screaming because hot water was pouring down onto her head,” Silberling said.

The water dripping from the ceiling and the walls started gradually and got worse. It required several hours for repairmen to come assess the leakage problem, Silberling said. 

“By the time people came into our room, part of the ceiling had caved in, parts of the wallpaper were peeling off and the floor was pretty much covered in water,” Silberling said.

"Incidents where students have to be moved from their rooms due to maintenance issues are relatively rare," Director of Residential Services John Eckman wrote in an email, adding that when such incidents do happen, students are moved to alternative housing — like in Silberling's situation — and all costs associated with the move are covered.

Facilities and Real Estate Services originally told Silberling that the repairs would take several days, but she could not return to her original room until mid-March. In the meantime, Silberling was given a single room in Fisher normally used as an example room in college tours, and her roommate was placed in another single.

Silberling was asked to return to her room in Ware last week after it was repaired. On an undamaged wall, she had left six corkboard panels of music paraphernalia including signed concert tickets and albums. When she returned to Ware, only one panel was still hanging. “I don’t understand how five went missing but the one was still there,” she said.

It is unclear what happened to her panels, but housekeeping came to clean the room the morning that Silberling was arranged to return. Silberling was told by Residential Services the day before that the things she left behind would be there. 

Eckman wrote that Facilities and Real Estate Services "clean and prepare the rooms for the student’s reentry."

Aside from the music panels, two coats that were being kept in Silberling’s temporary room in Fisher went missing as her belongings were moved back to Ware. Eckman also wrote that Residential Services "uses an outside service that has worked with the University for many years" to move the belongings of students. 

Residential Services has offered to reimburse Silberling for the cost of her lost possessions, but coming up with a value for her damages has been difficult.

Eckman wrote that there are "processes in place to ensure that all students’ belongings are returned," but that when incidents do happen, "the University works with the student and Risk Management to determine appropriate compensation."

A similar situation occurred in January where an anonymous college junior’s belongings disappeared after she moved rooms within her own Harnwell apartment.

The FRES and Residential Services staff that Silberling encountered were “helpful and accommodating," she said. "But no matter how much they try to help, I feel like more could have been done to prevent this from happening in the first place."

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