University offices receive critical judgment

by Tim Matthews

The Queen Liliuokalani student services center is home to the student advising center, registration, counseling, financial aid and many other offices.

In the midst of a tumultuous year for the University of Hawaii, its students find the ordinary dealings with campus offices to be an added stress to the already hectic day-to-day of campus life. Students requiring services from the university’s offices find most of their experiences very unpleasant, and struggle with usually simple processes only to find themselves losing out in the long run.

John Hawthorn, a junior and Japanese major, had bed bugs in his bed for over a week after filing a Pilikia report that he had updated twice but was never answered. After a week without a reply, John Hawthorn talked to an RA at the front desk of his building complex who directed him to the hall director who arranged for Eco Labs to fumigate the next day. John Hawthorn and his roommates were moved from their room near the top of one of the Wainani towers to a room in a low-rise.

“It was really hard to move all of our stuff. I had my desktop and everything and we couldn’t even stay in the same building. It didn’t make sense,” John Hawthorn said of the experience.
Having to wait a week without a reply, the fumigation was scheduled to take place the week before finals. “I couldn’t study. Had they taken care of it when I first sent in the request, I think I would have done better on finals.” John Hawthorn expected a quicker response than he received since he believed bed bugs to be a critical issue like a leaking faucet or toilet. The hall director told John Hawthorn that the person in charge of checking the Pilikia requests was on vacation.

Kyle Flocchini, a communications major, also had trouble with the housing office. She was not allowed to sign up for a room with three of her friends at the beginning of this spring semester despite having paid and filled out all of the paper work, apart from including her lottery number. Her friends received their housing assignments, but Kyle Flocchini was told she had to wait while her room filled up. “(Housing) was dismissive and said I needed the number” Kyle Flocchini said. “They should just have it all attached.”

Housing administration has undergone some budget cuts but only those that deal with “paid with leave” days. Michael Kaptik, a senior housing official, encouraged students with problems in their dorm to contact their RA through Pilikia online or at the front desks in person. “Students need to let us know there is a problem and (we) will work to find a solution,” Michael Kaptik encouraged. He also talked about additional changes coming in the fall and renovations that would be taking place over the summer. “Next year, students who want to use the room phones will be able to activate it for a one-time small fee and the monies saved by turning off all of the unused phone lines will cover costs associated with increasing Internet bandwidth in student housing. We are finding student use of the Internet is increasing and we want to do our best to meet this need.”

The financial aid office has also given some students trouble beyond the infamous long waits on hold, even allegedly losing paperwork in the case of Brian Imada, a senior. “I gave the paper work to the office and, when everyone was getting their awards, I never got mine. I look on MyUH and it wasn’t there, so I called the Financial Aid office.” Financial Aid asked who Brian gave his paperwork to and though he could recall giving it to someone, he didn’t remember the person’s name. Brian Imada had to fill out his paperwork again and resubmit it, waiting two weeks for his aid to go through.

“It sucks because I lost out on some money probably. I think they’re just unorganized.” Brian Imada says he feels like his opinion is shared by others and says he had heard of other people having similar problems.