Letts Hall entrance closed each night indefinitely due to desk receptionist shortage
Residents were notified of the change about 7 hours before it went into effect
A shortage of desk receptionists has caused Housing and Residence Life to close the entrance to Letts Hall each night between midnight and 7 a.m indefinitely.
The change, which went into effect Feb. 1 at midnight, was announced in an email on Jan. 31. The email said that residents could exit Letts Hall during these hours, but could only enter through the connecting Anderson Hall.
Typically, Letts residents’ One Cards do not work in elevators in Anderson; however, access was recently expanded because the two halls are only connected on the third floor and higher.
“I cannot express how confusing of a building it is,” said Letts resident Kassidy Jeansonne. “I feel like I’m in a video game trying to get around.”
Jeansonne, a program leader and senior in the School of Public Affairs, often does not return to her dorm until after midnight due to her job at Bender Library and visits to friends off campus. She said she was returning from the library Feb. 1 when she briefly found herself stuck in an elevator because her One Card was not properly activated in Anderson yet.
“It filled me with rage,” Jeansonne said.
However, Jeansonne said the elevator did work for her when she returned from work two nights later.
Joyce Choi, a freshman in the School of International Studies, is both a Letts resident and a desk receptionist. She said that working for HRL has made her more receptive to the change.
“It is what it is,” Choi said. “I understand the situation so I don’t really mind it as much.”
Choi, who started as a desk receptionist the same day the Letts entrance first closed, found out about the closure during training Jan. 29. SPA freshman Asmita Bhattarai, who started as a desk receptionist Jan. 10, said she found out about the closure about a week in advance. Bhattarai believes there should have been a period giving residents a chance to ask questions about the closure before it went into effect.
HRL told desk receptionists that if closing the Letts entrance at night didn’t work, they would restructure it so it would work better for them, according to Bhattarai. If there were too many issues, HRL told desk receptionists, Letts would reopen at night; if not, the change would stay, she said.
Both Choi and Bhattarai said the shortage of desk receptionists has impacted their jobs. Bhattarai said night shifts at Anderson’s desk are sometimes more hectic when issues arise, since workers now handle Letts residents as well. In January, HRL announced it would temporarily be raising wages for night shift workers by $1.50, a move that has also been attributed to the desk receptionist shortage.
Bhattarai also said that desk receptionists still have to pick up additional shifts to account for the shortage.
“Even with the desk closed [at night], there’s a lot of shifts that are still open,” Bhattarai said.
HRL has not announced how long the Letts entrance will continue to be closed at night. A request for comment to HRL was referred to Elizabeth Deal, the assistant vice president for community and internal communication. Deal forwarded The Eagle an email sent to Letts residents attributing the change to “lower-than-expected Desk Receptionist coverage this semester.”
“We are conducting an updated envisioning of desk coverage including utilizing complex-wide desk arrangements and appreciate your cooperation to ensure the safety of our community,” the Feb. 11 email reads.