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

The Fallout of N.C. A&T’s Recent Maintenance Problems


N.C. A&T has experienced an unlucky string of maintenance issues during January that caused widespread heat outages across campus facilities and residence halls

Heat Issues

A severe cold snap caused heat outages in 34 campus facilities, says the university released a message to students and staff on January 17, 2024. The released list included eight residence halls and several other campus buildings.

The problem began with cold temperatures on January 16, 2024, which led to the rest of the week.

The university said frigid temperatures froze the boilers that heat several campus buildings. This led to widespread heat outages in several residence halls. 

Naomi Oliver, a Freshman pre-law major from Charlotte, N.C., says she and her roommate have been dealing with cold temperatures in Morrow Hall since December 2023.

“I was told to put in a maintenance request, but the website wasn’t working,” Oliver said.  

Morrow Hall was mentioned as experiencing issues in the Chancellor’s campus-wide recap email released Wednesday.

” Though the heating system was operational again, some campus buildings continued to experience intermittent heating issues, notably Morrow Hall,” said Chancellor Martin.

The outages forced A&T to cancel in-person classes through the rest of that week, and students in affected residence halls were asked to find other accommodations or be moved to hotels provided by the university. 

Water Repairs

Following the heat, another problem arose with water services to some buildings. 

Due to necessary repairs, water services were shut off to 13 campus buildings. A&T did not cause this, but by the city of Greensboro repairing a broken water main that ran through campus. The city of Greensboro’s Water Resources Department estimated an eight-inch water main break on E. Wendover Avenue would be fixed by Wednesday, January 31, says WXII News 12.

This repair caused sediment buildup, making some residence halls’ water turn brown.

Christopher Buxton, a sophomore information technology major from Fayetteville, N.C., said,” I was confused because the water didn’t work, then it came out brown.”

 However, the water was clear within an hour of the city turning the water service back on, according to Richmond Hall residents.

University Response to Heat Outage

The university handled the heat issue by busing students in affected residence halls to local hotels or asking them to go home until the heat was back on. 

According to a statement from the Chancellor released Wednesday,” Housing and Residence Life quickly reserved more than 700 off-campus hotel beds.”

Some A&T students had comments about the quality of the hotel they were placed in. Tylin Seldon, a freshman engineering major from Texas, had concerns about how the university handled the issue.

“[The process] felt rushed and unorganized,” Seldon said.

She was placed in a Wyndham hotel that was dealing with homeless people loitering. Seldon’s parents later moved her to a different hotel so she could feel more comfortable.

Chancellor Martin said in his Wednesday email recap that all students who opted for a hotel placement arrived at their designated areas within 24 hours of the boiler failure.

Similar Problem at Shaw University

The Heating outage was a significant concern that brought heavy news coverage to the university for days, but HBCU students have long dealt with issues with campus infrastructure.

A&T is not the only HBCU dealing with this issue. Students at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, protested in January because of heating and water issues in a residence hall, says Quintessa Williams of HBCUBuzz. 

The matter was resolved for several days, but the recent cold snap caused the issue with the boiler system to return,” Shaw University’s Interim Director of Communications and Marketing John McCann said, per HBCUBuzz.

Shaw also uses boilers that experienced a freeze after the intense cold snap, according to HBCUBuzz.

The common denominator is HBCU infrastructure. 

Why HBCUs are Experiencing These Issues

These heat malfunctions are occurring because our universities are running on outdated systems. Chancellor Martin alluded to this in his statement to students about the heat breakdown.

 “Longer term, a full modernization of our steam plant is necessary,” says Chancellor Martin.

This opens the discussion of underfunding at HBCUs that has hindered our HBCU administration’s ability to modernize our campuses. According to NPR Alexis Marshall, federal officials have underfunded at least 16 HBCUs by around 12 billion dollars.

Susan Adams and Hank Tucker of Forbes said 2.8 billion dollars have underfunded A&T alone.

Data shows that underfunding HBCUs creates circumstances that become campus-wide shutdowns, which N.C. recently experienced. A&T students and administration. Students and administrators must advocate for proper funding to allow us to maximize the brilliance and opportunity we have at our institutions.

Chancellor Martin thanked students and staff for their cooperation during the concurrent events and said modernization of the heating system is already funded and will be completed in early 2025.

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