UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (PIX11) — It’s the so-called crown jewel of the CUNY system, but students and professors at Hunter College described crumbling buildings, rodents and bathrooms, doors, escalators and elevators that don’t work.
Gender studies professor Jen Gabourey has been teaching at Hunter for more than 15 years and she says the mouse problem in the classrooms and offices just keeps getting worse. Gabourey keeps Clorox on hand to clean animal droppings up in her office.
“I see mice all the time,” Gabourey said. “I see mice poop almost every day.”
Anthropology professor Mark Edelman sent a picture of another rodent problem. He said mice ate through his deli container to get to nuts and raisins. And students complain of seeing rats inside one of the school’s libraries.
“There have been dead and living rats in the six floor library,” Jasmine Wyhia, a Hunter College freshman, told PIX11 News. “There’s. even an Instagram feed. People talk about Ratatouille coming for a meet and greet. I think it’s almost funny,
Other students and professors complain of ceiling tiles falling on students, bathrooms and doors that don’t work and escalators and elevators that appear to be broken almost all the time. What effect does this have on students?
“It makes them feel not valued as human beings,” Tim Cusack, an adjunct theatre lecturer at Hunter, told PIX11 News. “It makes them feel this is all your worth: crumbling walls, ceilings, elevators and bathrooms you don’t feel good.”
Some of Hunter‘s infrastructure problems are not new. A coalition of union staff and students formed in 2016 and, more recently, they launched a Crumbling CUNY Twitter campaign to get the message out during the crucial budget talks.
Many feel Gov. Kathy Hochul is more sympathetic to their concerns than Andrew Cuomo was.
“We hope this is the year for us to get $1 billion as a down payment for some of the deferred things we need,” Gabourrey told PIX11 News.
A spokesman for Hunter College says there is no rodent problem. They shared a statemen sayin:
“Hunter College is proud of the substantial capital improvements achieved during—and since—the COVID lockdown, and remains committed to maintaining all campus facilities at the safest, healthiest, and most inspiring levels. Over the last two years alone, the school has applied $25 million to repairs and rehabilitation while constructing and opening a new $5 million student union as well as a state-of-the-art, two-floor library.
Like many CUNY campuses, Hunter has endured years of underfunded and deferred maintenance. With nearly 25,000 enrolled students, the largest student body in the CUNY system, Hunter must also constantly address ordinary wear-and-tear. And the school was hard-hit six months ago by Hurricane Ida, which necessitated an urgent round of repairs. Yet work has been going on without pause all through the pandemic, and has continued even as students returned to their classrooms.
We look forward to continuing our ongoing program of maintenance and capital improvements, hopefully at funding levels that enable us to preserve and protect our campus infrastructure.
As always, the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff remains our priority.”