Beginning Monday night, water flow in three buildings at Bobcat Village residence hall caused fire alarms to go off and residents were forced to relocate indefinitely- given no housing options from the university other than to stay in a COVID-19 quarantine building in the complex.
After a day of rolling blackouts across San Marcos, fire alarms went off in a building at Bobcat Village Monday evening, and about 20 students were evacuated. As the sun was setting and temperatures dropped, students were left to stand in frigid temperatures as they waited for about an hour for the University Police Department to arrive. They were not permitted to enter cars near the building to warm up due to their uncertainty of the building’s safety.
However, freshman resident Jessica, 18, said she and other residents of the building began piling into cars with neighbors to stay warm amid a pandemic.
“We had to break our orders just to get in a car to stay warm and not freeze,” said freshman Jessica Ruckstuhl. “And we didn’t have the luxury to stay COVID safe even though this campus promotes COVID safety as a priority…”
After further investigation, there was no indication of flooding in the building. To shut off the alarm, Texas State maintenance also had to shut off the sprinklers, and consequently, they deemed the building unsafe to stay in. Residents were given the option to stay with a friend, drive home, sleep in a car or stay in a COVID-19 quarantine building.
Bobcat Village residents feel that the University had no plan of action for such emergencies and due to their negligence, residents were left with no safe options in this situation.
Since Monday, other buildings in the complex have been evacuated for similar reasons and given the same shelter options. Resident Carson Corzine said as a result of these evacuations, he housed 10 people in his apartment for multiple days with no electricity or food.
“We are getting hungrier by the day- the only way we are able to get food is to drive on unsafe roads, which we aren’t willing to do, so we are starving instead,” Corzine said. “And most of all, we are mentally exhausted [from] hearing fire alarms all night, flashlights in each other’s faces, and blankets that smell like straight BO at this point.”
Students have received little communication from the Department of Housing and Residential Life about a plan of action for the next few days, nor has the department addressed the building evacuations.
Texas State University President, Denise Trauth, sent out an email Wednesday afternoon telling parents and students that she wants to ensure their safety.
“We cannot open other large indoor spaces on our campuses such as the University Events Center or LBJ Student Center for warming centers because they are also impacted by the rolling blackouts,” said Trauth. ”We are prioritizing power delivery to on-campus residence halls and dining facilities to serve our students.”
Students at Bobcat Village, an off-campus residence hall, felt that this prioritization excluded them. The complex was not experiencing rolling blackouts because power was out for over 24 hours, and the periodical power would have been beneficial for these residents.
One resident contacted a shelter because she recently found out she was pregnant and felt that the accommodations offered by the university were unsafe. This resident would like to remain anonymous due to her unannounced pregnancy, but she says she is disappointed in the university’s lack of planning and communication.
“Communication is just so poor right now. Every other school in Texas- every university- is doing such a better job,” said the resident. “Even junior colleges are doing a better job.”
After days of living without power, and food in some cases, students in the residence hall took their grievances to social media Tuesday. The next day, Texas State deployed a warming bus to Bobcat Village (a day after on campus residents received busses.) Texas State also stated in an email that they would provide residents with snack bags and water bottles.
Many residents sought shelter elsewhere already due to evacuations and unsafe living conditions, and felt that this action was too little too late. Residents believe the university should compensate students for their expenses.
“There are people paying hundreds of dollars to stay in a hotel room because Texas State evacuated them, or people who couldn’t stand it anymore because they weren’t providing resources,” said the resident.
Residents like Jessica also believe that students did more for each other than the University did for them within the first three days of this disaster.
“As students, we did everything we could,” said Jessica. “We stocked up on food but it turned into allocating our resources that we bought with our own money so people in worse conditions could eat. The school didn’t do that.”
Students in the evacuated buildings are still awaiting a response from the Department of Housing and Residential Life about when they can return to their apartments.
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Anonymous on February 18, 2021
Due to the unsafe living conditions I was forced to stay with a friend living at the Angelina dorm. The RA’s told us I could not stay with her because it is “against campus policy.” I told her we were instructed to stay with friends and I had no where else to go. In short, I was told to to figure it out. I lost power on Valentine’s Day and the school did not contact us about any of this until the 3rd day of all of this. I had to find a hotel to stay at.
Niki on February 18, 2021
I also went to seek shelter at Angelita Hall on campus they had power a day and a half longer than everyone else’s and I was kicked out from the hall. Because it was “Against Campus Policy” after being instructed to stay else where from bobcat village. No power or electricity I was forced to travel 400 miles to home in order to seek shelter in terrible road conditions. Texas State University Let Me Down as well as that RA at Angelita hall. All other RA’s were fine with me being there the day before and I was so thankful. I remember what she looked like because she looked a lot like me. She was a young African American girl and she’s an RA. I hope someone can find out who she is because she was kicking a lot of people out.
Kathryn on February 18, 2021
I volunteered the first night to stay in a “quarantine room” where the bare minimum would be available, like sheets. But the second I got there, I quickly realized there was nothing but a bare mattress and not even toilet paper. I can’t even begin to describe how neglected I feel by the university that claims to care about us. To sleep hungry in a cold, powerless room with two blankets and all of my clothes on is the most humiliating and traumatic that I’ve had to go through. I had to beg a friend to pick me up because I quickly realized that with no food, no heat, no more clothes, and no power to charge my phone to tell my parents I was ok, that I wasn’t going to last too much longer. This should have NEVER happened, because a university like Texas State should have at least something in place to keep students from going through what I did.
Cortez on February 18, 2021
So like about Angelita, the RD was was kicking people out and so was the RA the same as described above. I stayed with my friend but after one night I got caught trying to go get food from Harris. I Had to then try and make it to bobcat which I didn’t, I walked there. And there was still no power or heating or food and the RD and RA at Angelita hall told me Bobcat Village was on a rotation after I disagreed and said they were not. This was absolutely ridiculous and the RA of the second floor apologized that he could do much for me I feel so bad for him knowing his leadership was failing the students that needed shelter.
Anonymous on February 18, 2021
Since the beginning of the snow we had no electricity no hot water and the power outages were making the available food go bad. My friends were experiencing the same thing on campus and Walked through the snow to come stay with me to find out my living conditions were way worse then where they were at.As a resident in bobcat village when u live there you do not need to buy a on campus meal plan due to our off campus dorm having a kitchen inside, they had 2 on campus dinning halls open which is about a 30 min walk away from bobcat village which is so much worse in the snow. I gave people snacks who didn’t have any in neighboring dorms but I eventually ran out I ended up driving 3 hrs home. As a resident at bobcat village it is the most expensive dorm to stay at in Texas state and they didn’t care about us at all. I think we should be reimbursed for all the negligence in the time we needed the university the most.
Anonymous on February 19, 2021
My son, who lives at Bobcat Village, was without power from 12:00pm Monday until Tuesday 11:00pm. As a parent, I tried to contact the RA at Bobcat Village and the police pd via website and phone to no avail. In my opinion, that is very unacceptable.
N/a on February 20, 2021
The phone lines were down across campus due to power outage
anonymous on February 18, 2021
I like in San Gabriel (connected to Angelina) and I brought a friend from Bobcat Village to stay with me (they have been without power for over 14 hours, and ours were going on and off) my RD told me it was against the campus guest policy. I asked what he wanted me to do, and he said find a ride for her before it starts icing over again. None of our friends were getting on the road, my car was stuck and we were both stressed. We’re doing the best we can to support each other. I told my RD that we had no ride, and he said “if she stays, she’s not staying with you” (i have no roommate) He argued with me about the Bobcat Village power, and proceeded to be rude. I told him we could not find a ride, and I said if we get back on the road and we crashed, it would fall back on him. He said “no it won’t, no it won’t, we have a guest policy.” I said “instead of letting her stay where it is warm, you’re forcing her onto the road” he said “nope bye have a good day”
I am very disappointed in the RD. He cared more about his job, than the students well being.
Cole on February 18, 2021
Yeah so Angelina hall did not help students. They did not allow students to seek shelter in their hall the RD was at the front door and we would explain our situation we were told it was not our problem. Me as well as many Bobcat Village residents decided to walk to campus to seek shelter and we were turned around. We had to find out where to go and Blanco Hall RA’s we spoke to were very disappointed in the Angelina Hall RD and San Gabriel RD. They both were at the front turning students away and we had no where to go. It was ridiculous I really hope they face some type of punishment.
Anonymous on February 18, 2021
I am also a resident at bobcat village and the first thing I must say is that I find it absolutely ridiculous that the school did not take care of us or check up on us. It was 43 degrees in my apartment and all of the food I bought went bad. I had small snacks to eat and even then it was miserable because unless I was under my blankets I was shivering constantly. I am thankful for the blankets I had because I could not leave until 3 days with no power had passed due to the road conditions. I got lucky enough to find a hotel that had a room available to keep me warm for once. The day I was leaving my RA knocked on my door with blankets of her own to offer if I needed any and said if I can leave get out because they do not care about bobcat village. “They always forget about bobcat village”. Bobcat village is classified as a dorm in Texas State University campus housing. They failed to take care of us and their response to that was “you’re not on our grid” well maybe don’t have a dorm off campus if you can’t take care of the students paying for you to give them shelter.
Brianna Aguilar on February 19, 2021
I’m a covid patient staying bobcat village currently. I had to deal with days without food and freezing all day, which made me feel sicker then I already was. I try to contact multiple people like Bobcat Village office and the people who moved me into the room in the first place and never got a response ( I even called 911 one day because the alarms kept going off and they didn’t even show). If my friends hadn’t brought me food and blankets. I literally don’t know what would’ve happened.
I went days without sleep because the alarms would go off every 30 minutes and until yesterday they finally decided to remove me from the building they had me in. Last night was the first night I slept in a warm quiet room.
Anonymous on February 19, 2021
As someone who has sustained pervious injuries and is recovering. Bobcat village did not do anything to assist anyone. No ice on the stairs or anything. I myself fell down the stairs, as well as watched others. And falling down the stairs with a broken arm is not fun. All I had to eat was a pack of Oreos. Thank god my dad could make it 6 hrs to pick me up and take me home to the warm. It was literally colder in my apartment than it was In the freezer.
Karen W on February 19, 2021
I am a parent of a student at Texas State University. I have criticized them several times to the director of housing. I also stated that a crisis plan should have already been in placed. The university has failed our students and keeping them safe and with food and water. There is no way that my son could not have eaten. They could have even given handed out sandwiches and water for the students. They receive several thousands of dollars from the state and parents paying tuition. The buildings should be in better shape and better evacuation plans for crisis.
Anonymous on February 20, 2021
As a parent of an incoming Freshman it is very disappointing to hear there was no contingency plans for the students and it seem know one has spoken to the students about future plans or off an apology to them for abandonment.