Not So Private-eer Place: UNO Students Complain About Rats, Roaches & Other Uninvited Guests in Student Housing 

Photo+from+%40PrivateerPlace

Photo from @PrivateerPlace

Abigail Karas & Veronika Lee

*Note: This story has been updated with the names of sources who were willing to come forth. 

 

Visit the website for Privateer Place, UNO’s on-campus student apartments, and you’ll find a tech-friendly, glossy portrait of smiling students living in a quintessential college environment. There’s even a link to reassure parents their undergrads are sleeping safe and sound. 

But UNO students paint a different picture.

Several students spoke to Driftwood about the problems they have had in student living quarters run by the Australian based company, My Student Village

Student Sophia Castillo says: “I had a lawn chair stolen from me and [my friend’s] car was searched through by random people. We’ve had random people look through our windows.” 

Student Karen P. reports: “My downstairs heater almost blew up due to poor inspection.” This student also cites a “stalker.” The student reported the stalker to the Privateer Place administration and nothing was done. She alleges “the stalker” had already graduated four years prior and was still living in Privateer Place while using his currently enrolled sisters’ names on the lease.

Student Gabrielle Chulick states: “My first roommate moved out because she saw someone looking into our windows like he was going to steal something. They don’t enforce any rules or safety precautions.” 

Students also complain that RAs and maintenance men are permitted into apartments without advance notice. It should be noted that Louisiana State Law does not mandate landlords need to give notice prior to entering property.

A Loyola student who dropped out and was staying at Privateer Place told Driftwood that she wouldn’t recommend the housing unit. The girls she was living with, who were on the lease, ended up moving out before the lease was up because “it was such a terrible experience, from the apartment employees constantly ‘popping’ in to the terrible quality of furniture and poorly built buildings [.] [T]here’s bugs and leaks and it’s just not a good time.”  

While the residents of this particular property didn’t reach out to UNO staff to handle their issues, they did contact the housing company that runs Privateer Place, My Student Village. There is little information about campus safety or who to contact about intruders – bugs, rodents, or otherwise.

A quick Google search reveals that students living in Privateer Place complain about rat and roach infestations, as well as unresponsive management. Writes one user: “Our apartment had a roach problem and we even had to deal with a few rats… We tried to call managers but they never answered except for once when they pretty much made it out to be our fault. … it’s honestly not worth it. you can find somewhere better.”

Rats and roaches might not be the only unwelcome guests in student housing. After the car vandalism that has taken place on campus over the last few weeks, some students are concerned that the culprits are nonstudents living in Privateer Place.

Last week Adam Norris, Chief Communications Officer and Strategic Advisor to the President of UNO, told Driftwood: “[O]ur police firmly believe that these suspects are not members of the University community, so it’s extremely unlikely that they would be in our midst on a daily basis.” 

How does one define a member of the university community?  According to Amy King, Director, Student Accountability & Disability ServicesTitle IX Coordinator for UNO, who cites the University’s Administrative Policy AP-AA-38.1: “For the purposes of policy enforcement, the University considers an individual to be a ‘student’ when an offer of admission has been extended and thereafter as long as the student has a continuing educational interest in the University. The term ‘student’ includes individuals who are dually enrolled, visiting, online, and/or non-degree seeking.”

Campus intruders and squatters have apparently been a problem for quite some time.

A front-page Driftwood story from 2006 profiled the death of accounting major Patrick John Turner, who was found strangled in Bienville Hall. The story stated: “By Wednesday evening, the front desk in the lobby of Bienville Hall, which often sat unmanned prior to this week’s events, was staffed by a residence assistant and a campus police officer. Everyone who entered the building was required to show their identification before they were allowed on the elevators.” 

According to reporting from WAFB, the coroner stated Turner may have been dead for as long as six days before his body was discovered. Driftwood reported student residents often complained about rats and bugs in student housing, so the smell of a decomposing body was something they assumed was business as usual.  

Driftwood reached out to My Student Village and UNOPD for comment but have received no response as of press time. Driftwood staff will update the story if more information becomes available.

 

UNO students are strongly encouraged to report individuals or groups squatting on campus via https://neworleans.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_20lrZRaDoohpqD3 

 

Via https://www.mystudentvillage.com/us/privateer-place/