By Mili Chizhik, News Editor
On Thursday, December 4, 2021, both of the elevators in the Brookdale Residence Hall on Beren Campus were out of service. Five days later, the left elevator was again out of service, resulting in widespread frustration amongst students.
After multiple recent incidents with elevators, such as when a student was trapped in an elevator or when the elevator dropped, the Brookdale elevators broke down again. According to YU facilities, the elevator was out of balance and the indicator board did not show the correct floor on every trip. The elevator was then shut down and off service until the mechanic came to the site. With the elevators out of service, the students were required to use the stairs, which posed a major problem for those with physical disabilities and impediments.
On December 4, 2021, the Beren University Housing and Residence Life (UHRL) team sent an email to the students in Brookdale saying, “At present, the Brookdale elevators are both out of service. We are very sorry for the inconvenience this is causing tonight and we are working to resolve this immediately. The elevator technician is currently working on the issue and will put the left elevator back in service as soon as it is ready.” They continued by telling students to contact the Associate Director of Operations in Residence Life, Ms. Kylene Planer, with any questions they may have and that they will update the students when more information comes up.
Five days later on December 9, 2021, Beren UHRL team again shared with the students the following: “We’re sorry to report that the left elevator is currently out of service as it is not working properly. We know how frustrating this is and we’re staying in close contact with Facilities as we wait for the technician to arrive on site and put the elevator safely back into service. We will update you all once we learn more.”
Randy Apfelbaum, YU’s Chief Facilities & Administrative Officer, shared with the YU Observer that the YU administration is “aware of [the] recent issues with elevators in the Brookdale Residence Hall.” He continued by saying, “We understand and apologize for the frustration and inconvenience this creates for students living here, and we know that accessibility and efficiency play important roles in creating a productive learning environment for our students. While we are pleased to share [that] the elevators have been serviced and [we] hope to have both Brookdale elevators back in use by later this week, we are working on a more permanent resolution to this issue, and we plan to replace both elevators after the spring semester.”
Apfelbaum described the administration’s plan until the elevators can be fully replaced, saying, “To help limit further interruption of service in the interim, we have engaged our third-party maintenance provider, in an advanced capacity to provide more frequent on-site inspection and on-call maintenance of the elevators, as needed, until they can be replaced.”
Many expressed the urgent need for the elevators to be replaced. Sophomore Rina Shamilov (SCW ‘24) shared with the YU Observer, that “it’s no surprise that the elevators keep breaking because the school seems to be implementing temporary fixes. At this point, the elevator situation isn’t shocking, but it’s an issue that needs to be remedied.”
Others voiced the inconvenience brought by the frequent breaking down of the elevators. Additionally, Marcella Homsany (SCW ‘24) told the YU Observer, “as someone who lives on the 20th floor, the brookdale elevator is extremely inconvenient and unacceptable. Doing laundry is a game of luck. In addition, the second elevator has been broken since the holidays and I wonder where the funding provided by the student body for building maintenance is going if it clearly isn’t going to the things in the building that need maintaining.” Similarly, according to Rebecca Aduculesi (SCW 2023), “It is super frustrating that the elevator is always out of commission. There are 20 floors in Brookdale, so the elevator line is long as it is, and when both elevators are broken, it really is a tircha [hassle].”
Furthermore, the issues with the elevator are not confined to the Brookdale Residence Hall. Junior Eliana Lebowitz (SCW ‘23) shared her experience with the YU Observer regarding an incident that occured in the 245 Lexington building a few weeks ago. “The elevator in the 245 Lexington building was very packed and we were on our way to the third floor and the doors opened up and someone came into the elevator, Lebowitz described, “The doors closed and instead of it going up, it fell down, probably less than a floor. However, we all felt it fall and it was a scary moment. Then it continued going back up and, thank God, everyone was fine. But it wasn’t considered a big deal because in Stern, people get stuck in the elevator for hours and the elevator falling a handful of feet isn’t a big deal. The fact that it’s not a big deal because it happens so often is crazy to me.”