Students fear another semester of unfavorable living conditions

St. Edward’s students who applied to live in the new on-campus apartments, The Pavilions, have spent the past semester living out of hotel rooms within close proximity of campus due to construction delays. With the end of the semester slowly approaching, students have said they are being kept in the dark on when they will be able to move into the new apartments they initially paid for.

“I wish there was more communication about what’s been going on,” said junior Maddie Ibarra. “This whole semester I’ve felt like we’ve been kept in the dark about everything — the progress of the building, if we need to find other living arrangements — I feel like they are leading us on by a thread.”

After Senate Bill 4 was signed into law last summer, banning sanctuary cities and allowing police officers to inquire about immigration status for people who get arrested, there has been a rise in labor shortages across Texas.

With The Pavilions being more than five months behind schedule, the university has placed students into hotels close to campus such as The Omni, The Wyndham, Residence Inn by Marriott  and The Candlewood Suites. While each hotel has at least a four star rating according to Google reviews, some students feel they have been placed unfairly in their new living space.

“Most of my anger about this situation comes from other hotels having more perks and reimbursements than I received at the Candlewood Suites,” said sophomore Jeweliana Molinas.

Students living at the Candlewood Suites have said they do not feel safe living there and are worried about the possibility of returning if The Pavilions are not finished in time.

Student residents of this hotel have said they deal with ants, roaches and other pests infesting their rooms, unexplained smells and trespassers who make students feel unsafe.

“The safety, well-being and comfort of our guests is our number one priority, and we take all guest concerns very seriously,” Ben Hernandez, general manager of Candlewood Suites said.

To address to issues residents mentioned, Hernandez said Candlewood has changed the shuttle drop off point “to minimize potential interaction with non-hotel guests” and provides “spot treatment for insects on top of routine preventative procedures to ensure that we stay pest-free.”

Hernandez also said via email to Hilltop Views that “We have enjoyed hosting members of the St. Edward’s University campus community and will continue to make every best effort to ensure they are comfortable during their stay.”

However, these factors leave students angry with administration. 

“I just want to know how and why they chose the hotel. My question is, would President Martin feel comfortable living in my hotel? Because compared to the other hotels people got, this is just unacceptable,” said Molinas.

Hilltop Views reached out to the hotel managers but they did not respond to comment.

In addition to the living space, students are now faced with the task of packing their belongings up for the upcoming semester break. Students were given three options: place all of their belongings into two bins and leave it with the hotel, without access to them throughout the entire break, pay for their own U-Haul storage space and get reimbursed later or simply take all of their belongings home for break. For out of state students like sophomore Remington Ward, all three options seem inconvenient.

“It’s pretty annoying, I’ve already had to pack all of my things to get to my hotel, now I have to re-pack everything to leave it over the break, and then if The Pavilions aren’t finished then I have to unpack everything one last time just to repack it to move into my actual apartment,” said Ward.

Students were told that if there are no more interruptions, The Pavilions will be finished the same week that classes start for the spring semester. However, some students aren’t as optimistic.

“I would not be happy if I had to go back to my hotel,” said Ibarra. “But by the looks of it, I think The Pavilions will be done by March. I only think this because I’ve gotten no other reassurance from anyone.”