Early on the morning of Dec. 25, major flooding occurred at the Brooks Crossing Apartments. The flooding began on the eighth floor and impacted all floors below. Many apartments sustained varying levels of damage, leaving some students displaced by the flooding and given rooms in the Staybridge Suites located next door. 

Since the flooding occurred during winter break, many students were not able to come to campus and retrieve their belongings. For those students who were displaced, the University hired movers to move their belongings from their apartments over to the Staybridge Suites.

Sabeet Kazmi was finishing up moving into Brooks Crossing at around 2 a.m. when the flooding occurred. “I was bringing in the last of my stuff and in the parking lot there was a lot of water just leaking off the ceilings,” he said. “Eventually water started flooding the hallways and at the very least there was like two to three inches of water.” Kazmi went on to document the flooding and posted videos of what was happening on his Instagram story. Upon finishing his account, he added that “it was a very Merry Christmas present from Brooks Crossing to us.”

Kazmi is also one of the students who have been displaced from their apartment and moved to the Staybridge Suites by the University. He said that he does not know when he will be able to move back into his apartment and is still waiting for communication from UR.

The flooding also highlights the lack of education on renters insurance. It is written into the University’s Housing Contract that “the University is not liable for damage or loss of personal property. If family homeowner’s or tenant’s insurance does not cover your property at the University, consider purchasing a special student personal property policy.” 

“It’s a tough situation for everyone,” Neziah Osayi, junior Resident Advisor in Brooks Crossing said. For Osayi and many other students, this has been a learning process. In regard to the University Housing Contract stipulating that the University is not liable for the damage, Osayi said that “a lot of my residents didn’t know that. A lot of my residents didn’t even know what renters insurance even was. I didn’t even know what renters insurance was.”

Osayi is teaming up with the Student Association (SA) and will be giving a presentation at the next SA meeting, Monday, Jan. 23, to talk about renters insurance. There will also be information and resources provided.

“Our main topic of discussion is to sort out the renters insurance thing and how are students going to get compensated,” junior and SA President Adrija Bhattacharjee said. Bhattacharjee is working with Residential Life to try and prevent this sort of thing from happening again. “We talked about having a form that students can fill out and say that they acknowledge whether or not they want to get renters insurance,” she said. SA is also gathering student experiences to document.

In a statement to the Campus Times, Assistant Vice President for Communications and University Spokesperson Sara Miller had this to say about the University’s plans for further aid to students:

“We recognize and regret that the recent flooding at Brooks Crossing has caused some damage to personal property and required some of the affected students to temporarily relocate to other residences. Although the University’s on-campus housing contract encourages students to consider purchasing renter’s insurance, we will work with any Brooks Crossing resident who has concerns regarding personal property damage or loss resulting from the December flood. We ask that students with questions or concerns contact housing@reslife.rochester.edu for further information or assistance. Additional assistance may also be available through the Basic Needs Hub. Separately, the University is initiating a review of its policy on damage or loss and related processes to ensure that they align with best practices for dealing with these situations.”

Editor’s Note (01/25/23): This article has been edited to include an additional statement from Assistant Vice President for Communications and University Spokesperson Sara Miller concerning the University’s response to the flooding subsequent to the publishing of this article.

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