By: Chana Weinberg | Opinions  | 

It’s Time to Do Something About the Beren Elevators

After the softball team had to carry all the game equipment down from the eleventh floor of 245 Lexington, I decided it was time to write something. The elevators on the Beren Campus, specifically in 245 Lexington, are not working. More than one thousand students, faculty and staff must choose between forcing themselves onto one — or, if lucky, two — capacity-filled elevators, or huffing and puffing up steep flights of stairs in order to get to class. I’m confident that I speak for more than myself when I say this situation must change and change soon.

For those who do not understand what effect the lack of elevators has, let me take a moment to describe it. Hordes of people push and shove into the one, or maybe two, elevators between classes. The maintenance staff must carry full garbage bags down the steps or leave the bins full to smell up the upper floors. Professors and rabbis are taking the stairs. Everyone is late for class. Students and teachers alike grumble about how Facilities is doing nothing. Besides the students and teachers who must walk as many as ten flights of stairs to class, there are also those who physically cannot walk up the stairs; how are they managing?

Our school cannot function properly when its simple amenities are not working.

According to a casual conversation I had with the elevator mechanics, one elevator is missing a part and the other two have “mechanical issues.” I don’t want to make it sound so simple but — why don’t we get a good mechanic and order a new part to be delivered and installed tomorrow?

Obviously, things are not so easy. I do not believe that my school is out to get me; this is not a satire article where I theorize about conspiracies that YU wants us to get more exercise. It is likely harder than it looks to fix decades-old elevators, and I truly believe the school is working hard to fix them. But now it has been two weeks and it is time we saw some improvement.

“It feels like we don’t even go to a school because everything is falling apart,” said one student who was upset with the elevator issue. This student could also be referencing the escalators in the 215 Lexington building which have been broken since winter break. Or maybe the bathrooms that barely flush. Or maybe the glitchy Caf Card system. You catch my drift, I am sure.

“It is crazy that you have to leave almost half an hour extra to get to class on time. Either do that or push and shove to get in the elevator,” said Aviva Landau (SCW ’21).

“It is super annoying, We are like sardines in a dish when we are inside of the elevator,” said Liel Silverstone (SCW ’19).

“Teachers lose time to teach and students lose time to learn with the elevators like this,” said Dr. Deena Rabinovich, director of the Legacy Heritage Foundation program and Bible professor at SCW. “It is good this didn’t happen last semester when I had my broken foot.” There would have certainly been an issue there.

Reena Wasserstein (SCW ’20) put the situation into a clear perspective. “When you provide a service, there is an expectation that it works. The elevators not working make the students feel like their convenience is an afterthought.”

Fellow classmates, it is time to take this matter into our own hands. Please, send emails to YU Facilities Services — you can email or call 212.340.7460 — at least so we can pressure those with the power to fix this situation to help set up short-term solutions for this issue. I am not a mechanic, but I can suggest that we put up signs saying that only the people who cannot walk should take the elevator. Maybe ask for YU Facilities Services to please do something that shows that they are at least trying to fix the situation. I hope when I get to the building after Purim this will no longer be an issue. But if it is, I know we are a powerful student body who can compel those in charge to make the necessary changes.


Photo Caption: Elevators in 245 Lexington have been working sporadically for two weeks..
Photo Credit: The Commentator