by Cynthia Tran
LOS ANGELES — Residents living in UCLA’s transfer LLC building, De Neve Holly, have rising concerns regarding safety measures in their dorm building after experiencing a series of issues that could affect their physical and mental well-being.
Part of UCLA’s residential housing complex, De Neve Plaza, De Neve Holly was opened in February 2012, making it one of UCLA’s newer residential dorm buildings. A community composed mostly of first-year transfer students, it is a first time experience living in the dorms for most residents.
In October 2022, one of the toilets in the women’s bathroom broke on the seventh floor of Holly, causing sewage water to flood the bathroom, parts of the hallway and into a few dorm rooms. While many Holly residents reported toilet issues before, none had raised this much concern until the flood.
As one of the residents living in the dorm room across the women’s bathroom, third-year linguistics student Kayenat Barak, speaks about her concern regarding her and other residents’ health. “That toilet water seeped into the hallways, our dorm room, and that of others. This exposure is hazardous due to the unknown micro organic content in the contaminated water.”
While the maintenance of the bathrooms already posed an issue, there was also concern surrounding the response of UCLA Housing to the flood.
Barak’s dorm room was one of the rooms that the sewage water had seeped into. “The bathroom water was tended for in the hallways. However, no aid was received in our dorm room, making us and other residents susceptible to illness or other health concerns,” Barak says.
Besides the bathroom flooding problem, many Holly residents grew increasingly worried about their safety regarding the entrances to their dorm building.
Like every other residential building, residents must enter the building using their Bruincard to open the doors, glass gate and elevators. The use of Bruincards and glass gates as the only means of security raised concerns among residents.
Recently however, one of Holly’s two glass gates broke, leaving one gate wide open for anyone to enter without a Bruincard. This has raised a higher amount of concern for residents who have already questioned the dorm building’s security.
Holly resident and third-year political science major Karina Ramirez thought the use of the Bruincard to open doors was an effective idea, but still thought there were many issues with it— particularly, many residents assume that non-residents who enter the building are just visitors. “Although we do need a key card to get in, it is very easy to sneak into this building. There are a lot of unwanted people that come into this building and they can just easily hop into an elevator with people who hold the doors open for them,” Ramirez said.
Shortly after the breaking of Holly’s glass gate, a robbery incident was reported on one of Holly’s floors where an unwanted visitor entered a dead bolted dorm room and stole the resident’s electronic devices. Due to the lack of security cameras and working gates, this raised further questions on possible additions and solutions to the building’s security measures as residents began to feel paranoid about future possible robberies.
“I think they could start with fixing our gated system and maybe have a better check-in system, but I know that is a challenge on its own,” Ramirez says, voicing her uncertainty about the right balance between convenience and safety.
While the debate on dorm building safety measures is still ongoing, the recent events at De Neve Holly have sparked a desire among residents for change and improvement on dorm building safety overall.