By Daniel Johnson, Sports Editor
The Shockley family returned from their summer vacation to find a hoard of crickets filling the bathroom shower and covering the kitchen floor of their apartment in Sherrod Hall.
The crickets slipped through the holes and cracks in the walls and doors of their apartment while the Shockleys were gone, and Troy Shockley, an ACU alumnus, had no choice but to clean out the apartment himself. He knew from experience if he called the Residential Life Education and Housing Office nothing would get done.
“I had to get in there with a brush and bleach, and I told [my wife] to not even look because she would get sick,” Shockley said. “We’re just out here by ourselves.”
The apartment complex that houses about two dozen ACU students and their families is plagued with leaks, broken lights, broken doors, a lack of laundry facilities and, residents say, a lack of security. All the while the rent has continued to go up and the list of needed repairs and services grows longer.
As of Thursday, John Delony, newly appointed director of ResLife, said he was presenting a proposal to Dr. Royce Money, president of the university, to end Sherrod as a residential facility. Delony said residents don’t need to worry, if the action is approved, it will not be immediate.
“What people need to know is that Sherrod is on ResLife’s radar,” said Delony, newly appointed director of ResLife. Delony, who has only been director of ResLife for three weeks said Sherrod has moved up on the ResLife priority list, and the university will take action, pending approval by the president.
“It would be irresponsible for me not to take an active role in this,” Delony said. He added that he planned to meet with residents to see what the problems are at Sherrod.
The residents’ rent for 2007 was raised to $595 from $570 last fall, and the Shockleys and other residents wonder why. Little to no repairs or improvements have been made to the facility, and the Sherrod on-site director, the residents only connection to the university at Sherrod, has not been replaced since leaving
in the middle of the summer.
“One of the biggest things is there is no on-site director,” said Seth Shaver, graduate student in the College of Biblical Studies from Tyler. “If we run out of laundry cards, we have no one to go to; we have to go all the way to the ResLife office on campus.” Delony said plans are in the works to replace the on-site director, but nothing has been finalized yet.
“This is our only option right now,” Troy’s wife, Roxanne, said. “I wouldn’t mind living in these conditions if you didn’t raise the rent every year.” Roxanne, a senior interdisciplinary major from Billings, Mont., and mother of nearly two-year old daughter Elisabeth, sent a response to an e-mail that ResLife sent Sherrod residents announcing the rent raise.
“If the rise in rent doesn’t include any new privileges, what is the justification for the increase?” Roxanne asked in the e-mail.
The Shockleys said since moving into Sherrod in 2003, the university has repaired one thing-a broken door. Meanwhile the original 2003 rent of $530 has increased $65. Sherrod was built on Cedar Crest road in 1973 and opened in 1974, but despite being 33 years old, residents have made many and paid for many of the repairs to the apartment.
Troy built a fence and planted grass so his daughter would have a safe place to play. Shaver painted cabinets and other neighbors have built storage facilities to increase the amount of space.
In addition to the complaints about repairs, Sherrod residents say they don’t feel safe.
The laundry room, which is located in a vacant apartment unit and has only two washers and dryers, does not have any outdoor lighting. Roxanne said she doesn’t do laundry at night because of this. Residents said they also have reported numerous car break-ins, and strangers often knock on doors late at night to beg for money.
“Nothing changes,” Troy said. “You see [ACU] building a pond; they’re doing all these projects on campus, but these things haven’t been touched since the 70s.” Although action may be on the way, for now, Troy and his two-year old daughter will have to deal with the crickets themselves.
“Every morning, we go on cricket patrol,” Troy said.