The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

N.C. A&T students forced to relocate after a shortage of heat and hot water in dorms

Armani Ross
Pictured is Barbee Hall, one of the on-campus dorms affected by the heat shortage

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Twice on Wednesday N.C. A&T alerted students and faculty about an issue regarding heating services in most campus buildings. 

The issue led to the suspension of all classes on Thursday and exclusively remote instruction on Friday. Students who resided in affected campus dorms were also encouraged to return home if possible. Housing and Residence Life secured off-campus accommodations for students who could not return home. 

However, several students said they were notified Wednesday evening that they had to evacuate and could not stay in their dorms overnight. 

The heat shortage affected Barbee Hall, Cooper Hall, Haley Hall, Holland Hall, Speight Hall, Vanstory Hall, Curtis Hall and academic buildings. 

“We really had a three-hour notice,” said freshman multimedia journalism student Xavier Burton, who resides in Barbee Hall. “We had a floor meeting on Wednesday and were told we’d have to find a place to stay or get accommodation for a hotel for the next 48 hours.”

Some of the hotels’ students were sent to include Sheraton Greensboro at Four Seasons, Drury Inn, Hyatt Place, Wyndham Garden, Doubletree by Hilton, Holiday Inn, Country Inn and Suites,  and Wingate by Wyndham. 

University officials described the occurrence as an “unfortunate situation” to WFMY News 2. They gave context to the situation and said cold weather caused pipes to burst, leading to malfunctions in the heating system. 

“Our older buildings are fed by steam. The steam goes into the building, and then we have a mechanical room that converts the steam to heat. Our newer building uses gas heat. It goes to the building, and our mechanical room converts the gas to heat,” William Barlow, the Associate Vice Chancellor for NC A&T facilities, told WFMY News 2.

HBCUs are widely known to be historically underfunded, which may contribute to the need for more efficient infrastructure at these institutions.

In 2023, the U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to several governors, including Governor Roy Cooper. The letter cited that A&T was underfunded by about $2 million in the last 30 years alone.

“These funds could have supported infrastructure and student services and would have better positioned the university to compete for research grants,” the Secretary of Education said in the letter to Governor Cooper.

Taylor Walker, a freshman accounting student from Connecticut, was at work when everything happened and noticed her GroupMe was blowing up.

“Originally, we were told if we could go home, we should, but if we couldn’t, we could stay,” Walker said. “But as time progressed, we were told we had to leave or get kicked out.

“I contacted my roommate to relay the information to her, but she had to rush to Vanstory and stand in line for an hour to ensure we could get a hotel. When I returned to campus, I ran to my room to pack. It was around 9:30 when I got an email saying shuttles to hotels would leave at 10:15 p.m. from the student center. The student center is a fifteen-minute walk from Vanstory. I basically had no time to get my life together.”

Several students took to social media to express their frustrations and concerns. Some students feel the situation could have been handled more efficiently.

“I believe the university could’ve handled it a little differently,” said Aniyah Matthews, a freshman student from Tennessee. “The timing of everything, along with communication, could’ve been a little bit better. They could’ve provided us with a Google form to help them determine if we needed accommodations or were going home.”

On the contrary, some students believe the university handled the situation as best as they could.

“It’s been a lot, and it’s definitely a stressful situation,” said Selah Longchamp, a freshman business information technology student from Virginia. “But in my opinion, our school is doing the best they can with this last-minute situation.

“Regarding the hotel situation, initially, there was limited space, and the university informed us to register for a hotel only if we absolutely had nowhere to go. Many students still registered for a hotel when they had somewhere they could’ve gone, so that pushed everything back. For students that had to wait in the student center, they eventually got a room. We’re good, I promise you.”

Todd Simmons, the Vice Chancellor of University Relations, told WFMY News 2 that the university hopes to have repairs done by the weekend, but it’s a matter of how quickly repair work can be done.

At 6:41 p.m., Chancellor Martin sent out a campus-wide email stating that the heating issues had been resolved.

“Heat is being restored to all affected campus buildings, and they will be ready for use and occupancy starting at 8 a.m. tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 19.

According to the email, classes will still be remote tomorrow, but residence halls will reopen to residents at 8 a.m. tomorrow, and they can return at their convenience any time after that.

The email also cited that students staying at hotels should plan to check out no later than 6 p.m. tomorrow.

Other key points from the email can be found below.

Please be mindful of the following:

  • Affected residence halls will reopen at 8 a.m. tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 19. Residents may return anytime after that.
  • Shuttles will continue to take students from off-campus housing to campus throughout the day on Friday, ending at 7 p.m.
  • University events and activities curtailed on Wednesday and today will resume at 8 a.m. on Friday.

This is a developing story. Updated at 10:02 p.m. 


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