Lower costs for dorm residents who lack AC

This semester, while most students on campus enjoy the comfort of air conditioning in their living quarters, some 771 students living on North Campus have little respite from the heat.

Lexington has not been as hot as it is now since 1999, according to an Aug. 31 Kernel article. This is especially bad news for the residents of Boyd, Holmes, Jewell and Keeneland halls, all of which lack air conditioning.

It may seem that the most obvious solution is to put air conditioning in the above residence halls. However, installing units in Keeneland alone would cost $7.2 million, said Ben Crutcher, associate vice president for UK Auxiliary Services, in the Kernel story.

UK intends to renovate or replace all the older dorms on North Campus by 2020 if funding allows, Crutcher told the Kernel. If that’s the case, renovating the old ones for millions of dollars is not a sensible plan.

But until all the dorms without air conditioning are abolished, UK should compensate students living in residence halls without air conditioning.

Currently, students living without air conditioning receive the same treatment as students in air-conditioned dorms. Although rooms cost more in the most recently built dorms, all of which have air conditioning, the price is the same at all of the older dorms, whether they have air conditioning or not.

It is not fair for students living without air conditioning to pay the same price for considerably worse living conditions.

If students living in new dorms are paying more money for their better rooms, then students living without air conditioning should be paying less for their suffering.

In addition, these old residence halls can do small things to help residents beat the heat. Inexpensive measures like providing box fans for each room can at least show residents that their hardship is not forgotten.

Many of the students living without air conditioning are freshmen. It is possible that such unwelcoming living quarters will affect their study efficiency and lower their chances of graduation.

We have already said that if UK wishes to become a top-20 university, it cannot ignore undergraduates — and for many of them, residence halls are an important component of the college experience.

To keep attracting and retaining undergraduates, UK needs to seek the necessary funding and replace the outdated dorms as soon as possible.