The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Calhoun Hall and Furman Hall experience months-long elevator outages

Repairs in Calhoun are scheduled to begin this week, five months after the first reported outage.
Alice Tang
The front of Furman Hall, as photographed on February 18, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Alice Tang)

Elevators in Calhoun Hall and Furman Hall, each of which have only one elevator, have been out of operation for several months and have yet to be repaired. The Calhoun and Furman elevators were reported out of service in September 2023 and December 2023, respectively.  

The Vanderbilt Facilities Department explained that the “custom” parts needed for the repairs are not kept in stock. They did not specify whether the parts have taken several months to make or if there were additional delays.

“The parts are custom built for each elevator. Repairs for the Calhoun elevator are tentatively scheduled to begin the week of Feb. 19,” Facilities said in an email to The Hustler. “This will take up to two weeks to complete. Repairs in Furman are expected to begin in mid-March.”

VUMO also noted that faculty or students with documented mobility or health concerns were identified and contacted, and their classes were relocated to more accessible areas. 

Heidi Bludau, senior lecturer of medicine, health and society and assistant director of graduate studies in MHS, explained that the elevator outages have also impacted the buildings’ cleanliness  and intra-department engagement.

“Cleanliness of the building has suffered, but I can’t blame the custodial crew for not being able to lug supplies, tools, etc. up the stairs,” Bludau said. “The social life of the department is affected because people don’t want to leave or return to the building because it would mean more times up the stairs.”

Bludau added that she has heard of students with disabilities facing issues due to the outages. 

“A colleague noticed a student who wanted to go to an event in the business minor suite on the second floor of Calhoun but was in a wheelchair,” Bludau said. “This student was excluded from that event due to lack of access.”

Bludau expressed frustration with the amount of time the university has taken to resolve the issue. She said she received communication from the College of Arts and Science with instructions for requesting student or staff accommodations. Staff have also been told that they should have a working elevator in Calhoun no later than March 4.

First-year J.C. Salubre described deciding to drop a class on the third floor of Calhoun for the spring semester in part due to the broken elevator.

“I did have a class in Calhoun [fall] semester, and my pre-existing injury made it difficult to climb up the stairs without the elevator,” Salubre said. “Once I got surgery and saw the location of the class, I knew it wasn’t worth it considering the new condition of my knee.”

Peter Pietri, a senior enrolled in a class on the fourth floor of Calhoun, said that the outage has not affected him personally, but he understands how it can make classes inaccessible to other students. 

“It just goes to show how inaccessible campus infrastructure can be, and also how admin drags its feet to get things done,” Pietri said. “It’s sort of ridiculous that this has been an issue since last semester, and little to no efforts have been made to do anything about it.”

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About the Contributors
Swarada Kulkarni
Swarada Kulkarni, Staff Writer
Swarada Kulkarni (‘27) is majoring in neuroscience in the College of Arts and Science. Outside of writing for The Hustler, she enjoys singing, reading books and exploring new restaurants with her friends. She can be reached at [email protected].
Alice Tang
Alice Tang, Staff Photographer
Alice Tang (‘25) is from Columbia, Mo., and is majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in environmental and sustainability studies. She enjoys birdwatching and arts and crafts. You can reach her at [email protected].

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