Four George Mason University students, dissatisfied with the college's efforts to repair their campus apartment, invited over the press and a Fairfax County health inspector yesterday to help their case.
Although the students were pleased by the government and media attention, George Mason administrators said it will not make a difference.
"The course of repair action was already in motion," said Donald Mash, vice president for student affairs. "We're moving as fast as we can."
He said he and Kenneth Bumgarner, associate vice president for student services, visited the apartments two weeks ago and told the students the steps the college planned to improve conditions there.
"All the publicity will do," he said, "is make us go back to students to find out if somewhere along the line there was a misunderstanding about what's going on."
Phillip Herring, a 20-year-old junior from Falls Church, agreed that his complaints prompted a quick reaction from Bumgarner. Eight maintenance workers showed up one morning last week to begin repairs, he said. A malfunctioning refrigerator was replaced and his stove was fixed, and workers yesterday were laying a new carpet. The old one had been soiled by water trickling down walls as a result of rainwater leaks and overflowing toilets.
The building where the students live is about nine years old. It houses about 500 students in apartments and was the first housing built on the Fairfax County campus. Herring said many of the students share his concern.
Herring said he felt compelled to call newspapers and the county Health Department after the college housing staff on Friday failed to show interest in stopping water from penetrating a fuse box and causing what Herring said was a fire hazard. Further frustrating the students on Friday was the college's decision to cut off hot water to the dorm for four days because of the construction of a sports arena nearby.
College officials said they realized there were problems at the building, but they denied they had shown a lack of interest in resolving them. Hot water was restored to the building yesterday, and the students were assured by health inspector Dan Bannister that his department will monitor the college's repair work.