San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

University Towers rooms flood, residents forced to relocate

Alexa Oslowski

Residents of University Towers have been experiencing flooding issues on several floors throughout the semester, and this isn’t the first time it’s happened. 

The building has reportedly experienced flooding in the bathrooms and sinks within the individual rooms. Some of the flood damage was so severe that students were forced to move into different rooms.

The cause of the floods in University Towers is clogged shower pipes due to missing shower grates, according to the Director of the Office of Housing Administration Cynthia Cervantes. 

There have been multiple factors contributing to the clogging, she said.

“There are some cases where the shower drain cover has been removed from the shower stall, and in cases where the shower drain is there, we’re noticing that the grid to the opening of the shower cover is wide enough to let a significant amount of hair through,” she said. “In cases where we have shower stalls with the drain cover on, lots of hair of other items are going down the pipe. In the cases where the shower drain cover is completely removed, obviously some larger items are fitting down there.” 

Aerospace freshman Thomas Langston said his room flooded with “sewer water” after his shower drain got clogged.

“I first saw the flood when I was sitting at my desk, about to write my paper, when I noticed water started to flood from the bathroom,” he said. “I went to check it out and I found that there was water seeping out of the drain itself, overflowing over the shower itself, and flooding bathroom and slowly engulfing the entire floor.”

The flooding was so bad that it seeped into the hallway. Langston said himself and his roommate had to spend two nights in another room while his dorm dried out and got repaired.

“It was the entire floor in here, almost,” he said. “It was at least maybe a quarter of an inch of water. It was enough I could kind of splash around, my friends got a few laughs from that.”

Often times, when floods occur in the building’s rooms, Cervantes said the problem originates from the floor above the one that is flooding. 

“When we have gone in to repair these floods, obviously we will get a notice from a room saying their drain is backing up, the problem isn’t originating with their shower stall but typically the one above, or ones higher above that stack,” Cervantes said.

Recently, wads of hair, plastic wrappers and washcloths have contributed to the backing up of drains at the residence hall, Cervantes said. 

“In the most recent cases we have found wads of hair, we most recently found a pickle wrapper, and in some cases washcloths,” Cervantes said. 

Cervantes said the flooding is abnormal, although University Towers has experienced floods in the past. But this semester marks the first time floods have occurred this frequently. 

“This is something that (has) become a pattern this semester for the first time, so you know I would say it’s just been a handful of them since opening, but it’s not really been a pattern with the building we’ve seen before,” Cervantes said. 

However, applied mathematics sophomore Lucas Martinez, who roomed on the fourth floor last year also had issues with flooding.

“Every time the people above us showered, it would leak into our room onto the floor,” he said.

And we submitted like five, maybe four, service requests for this and they just gave us a fan. A fan to dry off the floor.”

Sustainability freshman Giancarla Gallo was living in University Towers on the seventh floor  when the sink in her room flooded. She and her roommate were forced to move out of the room permanently and relocate to a different room in the building. 

“It was because the sink was filling up and then it flooded everything,” Gallo said. “It was from underneath the sink. We needed to take everything out of the room and had to move out to the eighth floor.”

International business freshman Gabriella Spaethling and marketing freshman Alexis Durand said their second-floor room experienced flooding as well.

“That day I was showering and the water pressure was super low, it was dripping out so I was a little weirded out,” Spaethling said. “Then the water wasn’t going down the drain after the shower. And then we left and it was all down (the drain). Then we went down to go get dinner and we came up, Alexis was napping, and there was a huge puddle in the room. And it was coming from the shower.”

Spaethling said her room was also flooded with dirty water.

“It took awhile for them to actually come and help us,” she said. “It smelled really bad.”

Television, film and new media freshman Maya Hennessey said their room was flooded with muddy water one day while they were in the room. 

“The sink flooded and we thought it was going to stop at the bowl but it didn’t and it just kept going, so the entire floor got soaked,” Hennessey said. “And it was muddy, like the water was muddy. And then after that we had to get it cleaned and we had to go through a whole process for that.”

Hennessey and her roommate, communication freshman Odalis Oliva, decided to stay in the room even though it was flooded because they were told it would take just one day to get it cleaned.

Business freshmen Daniel Traxler and Jules Auffray are roommates who had a severe flood in their room on the seventh floor.

“I was training and when I came back and opened the door I saw it,” Auffray said. “The floor was so wet. It was unbelievable. We couldn’t walk on it, it was too wet.”

Traxler said he was at work when he got a call from his roommate saying he needed to come back to the room right away. Traxler was not able to leave work for another hour, but when he got back to the room, he saw the flood. 

“It just came up from the sink and it smelled really bad, it was not clean water,” Traxler said. “It was very nasty. It flooded about half the room. So I know my roommate’s bag got wet, but luckily I had all my stuff on top of my surfboard so it didn’t get much wet except my pillow.”

Traxler and Auffray waited for several hours for maintenance to come clean their room and help them with the flood damage. 

“It took a good three or four hours until they came up to clean it, and they cleaned it,” Traxler said. “After we came back and it still smelled for like four days and then finally they came back to clean it again.”

The Office of Housing Administration is addressing the issue of the floods by conducting monthly health and safety inspections and making sure the shower drains have covers. 

“We are going right into our next cycle of health and safety inspections,” Cervantes said.

She said the inspections will be starting throughout this next month.

News Editor Kaitlyn Little contributed to the reporting of this story.

About the Contributors
Katelynn Robinson
Katelynn Robinson, '21-22 News Editor
Katelynn Robinson is a junior studying journalism and political science. 
Alexa Oslowski
Alexa Oslowski, Photo Editor
Alexandra Oslowski (she/her) is a 5th-year student studying journalism with a minor in art from Cameron Park, California. She is a transfer student from UC Santa Cruz and in her third year at San Diego State. She has a passion for photography, music, and writing. Alexa hopes to pursue a career in digital journalism or photojournalism. You can follow her on Twitter @AlexaROslowski.
Activate Search
San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
University Towers rooms flood, residents forced to relocate