Evan Le’Mon, The Whetstone

Professor Susan Bobby was forced for the first two months this semester to climb the College Center stairs to her classroom on the second floor and to her office on the fourth floor because of the unreliability of the elevator.

“I had surgery for my degenerative joint disease a year ago and was improving a lot,” she said. “But by the second or third week of the semester, the elevator was breaking every day multiple times a day.”

Bobby said that within a month she was in constant pain. Two doctors wrote letters to Wesley asking she be given a different location for her classes and office.

“I tried to at least keep my classes on the second floor of the College Center,” she said. “After a week I had been late to class and my office hours three days in a row because the elevator kept breaking down. At that point I had to move my classes to the second floor of the library as well.”

Bobby’s story is one of several that have resulted from spotty elevator service in College Center.

Sophomore Lydia LaSure said she was taking the College Center elevator to class one day when she said the elevator doors opened and the car stopped before it had come all the way down to the first floor.

“I had to hop up into it,” she said. “I was terrified because it bounced when I got in, but I had to suck it up. I had a class on the fourth floor and I had to get there.”

Senior Ashley Morris said that the elevator doors need better sensors.

“The doors will open, and then slam closed before I have a chance to step on,” she said. “It’ll happen two or three times before they stay open long enough for me to finally get on. It’s scary – I have to try not to get crushed by the doors.”

Bobby said she wasn’t the only one complaining of health issues related to having to take the stairs.

“I’ve heard a lot of faculty, staff and students complain of stress on their knees,” she said. “We’ll have students who are injured who aren’t supposed to be on stairs but do it anyway. If a student’s class is in the CC and the elevator’s broken, what else are they supposed to do?”

Junior Briana Artis said it frustrates her when the elevator doesn’t work during class hours.

“Not everyone can take the stairs – there’s students who are disabled,” she said. “If the elevator is something that we need, it should be available for us to use. Wesley needs to invest the money for us to be able to do that. Otherwise, why do we have it at all?”

Wesley’s Chief Financial Officer Belinda Burke said that both Maintenance and her office are aware of the concerns.

“We have already made numerous repairs to the elevator,” she said. “The major and costly repairs for replacing the mechanical parts of the elevator takes an extended period of time – two to four weeks when the elevator will need to be out of service.”

Burke said that the repairs are being scheduled for the summer, “when fewer people will be interrupted and inconvenienced.”

Bobby said that repairs may not be enough.

“I want to see the college replace the elevator, not repair it,” she said. “I have worked here for 25 years, and I can recall at least 15 years ago people saying it needed to be replaced. In fact, I was recently talking to an alumni who graduated 15 years ago and she was reminiscing about helping an older English professor up and down the stairs when the elevator was broken. My office on the fourth floor was his old office.”

Burke said that the repairs that will take place this summer will be sufficient to “remedy the issues and make the elevator operational. I appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we work through these issues.”