The elevator in Pagliaro Selz (P. Selz) failed to operate on February 20, continuing a trend from last semester of recurring issues with Fireside and P. Selz elevators constantly breaking down and concerning students about their safety and accessibility.
P. Selz and Fireside Halls opened in the Fall of 2016 and Fall of 2018, respectively. The two first-year dorms are built to be living-learning environments with interaction among first-year students, along with other communal areas, so students can come together to cook, watch TV, play games, and talk about daily life.
P. Selz resident Lucas Guire ‘26 said he had difficulties when the elevator continuously broke down.
“One of the main reasons I chose Goucher is because I thought it was accessible and the elevators are part of that accessibility,” said Guire.
Guire said walking up the stairs is extremely difficult for him since he has Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome and Patella Alta. He described an instance where he fell down the stairs and felt his knee cap slip out of place due to the Patella Alta, resulting in him hurting his left arm.
Kay Dellovo ‘23, a Fireside Resident Assistant, said that the inspections are expired, based on the elevators having outdated certificates. However, Erik Thompson, Goucher’s Vice President of Campus Operations, said inspection checks are routinely completed. Some elevators have expired certificates on display due to delays in receiving state-issued inspection certificates, making it appear as though they are not up to date.
Thompson said that Goucher is working on revised contractual obligations to ensure the college receives timely copies of documentation, such as inspections, maintenance logs, and repair reports.
“We are days from finalizing those contractual changes,” said Thompson in an email.
Leahannah Serranilla ‘26 added that there has been an “out of order” sign since November of last year in the P. Selz elevator, which regularly breaks down.
When the elevator in P.selz broke down in November, Andy Voytek, Director of Facilities Management Services (FMS), sent an email on the 4th explaining that the closing door sensor was damaged and needed to be replaced, and that the repairs for the P. Selz elevator would cost $20,000. The elevator replacement was finished by November 11.
The November 4th email also said that the common reasons the elevators fail are people jumping up and down or holding the door open too long.
“It’s kind of wild that the elevator should break because of those two things,” remarked Devello.
Then on February 20, Voytek sent another email explaining how the reliability of the elevator in P. Selz is in significant decline.
“In some cases, they present an avoidable barrier for those members of the community with accessibility challenges,” said Voytek in an email.
Voytek told students whenever they encounter an elevator that is not working properly to call or text FMS at 410-337-616. But according to students, including Dellovo, Serranilla, and Guire, there is no cell service in the elevator, making it difficult to report any issues when in the elevator.
The Barrier Report Form from Accessibility Services is another way to report if there is any encounter with physical, electronic, or programmatic accessibility barriers on the Goucher campus. However, many students have said they have never heard of this form, including Morgan Broderick ‘23, an area-leading RA.
Broderick said it was not mentioned in her RA training, but she thinks that the form could be a good thing to learn about and present to students with accessibility issues. She also said that the RAs are not currently aware of renovation plans involving the elevators, but RAs should be notified of improvement plans as they arise.
“This is something that is not always communicated to us, but there needs to be a change where RAs need to know what the plan should be to fix this,” Broderick said.
By Shelby Meek ‘25