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Oakwood Begins Alumni Weekend While Some Women Students Shower in Trailers

Portable Shower Unit

As Oakwood University celebrates its alumni homecoming this weekend, some women students are taking showers in portable units while the university scrambles to replace a defunct boiler.

On March 23, the university announced on Facebook that a boiler failed in the Wade Hall residence for upper class women. “The affected boiler has been shut down, temporarily impacting hot water availability,” the statement said. “However, a permanent replacement has been ordered and will arrive in six weeks.”

The university provided portable showers for affected students until a new boiler can be installed. A student who requested anonymity shared photos of the temporary units.

On Sunday, March 24, the university announced that the student life and physical plant staff worked “through the Sabbath hours to provide a solution to restore hot water promptly.” Wade Hall residents had access hot showers at Carter Hall.

The next day, Monday, March 25, the university announced a collaboration with a local vendor, a boiler manufacturer who could expedite the delivery of a new boiler to within seven days instead of the originally estimated six weeks. “The boiler vendor has also committed to personally retrieving the boiler from the manufacturer and supervis[ing] its installation this week,” the university said. “The aim is to restore hot water permanently by Sunday March 31, 2024.”

University leadership contracted with a local company to install the portable hot-shower units on Tuesday, March 26. They erected a privacy fence around the trailers, blocking external access to the north-facing entrance of Wade Hall.

On Wednesday, another company started removing the defunct boiler, “with plans to begin installation of the permanent boiler on Thursday, March 28,” the university said.

Concerned Oakwoodites, representing over 1,000 alumni and Oakwood University supporters, “commend the administration for stepping up and valuing students by switching the timeline to about six days. That should be the norm and not the exception.”

The group held an in person meeting today at 3:30 P.M. to discuss concerns regarding the university’s building maintenance, finance, enrollment, and board accountability and composition.

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