City Desk

House of Horrors: GWU Edition

Massive amounts of money  just doesn't get you what they used to.

Residents at George Washington University—one of the most expensive schools in the country, with a price tag nearing $60,000—have taken to Facebook to express their "horror" stories with GW housing.

"This page was created with the intent of exposing the true state of GW campus housing. Our goal is to bring attention to GW's blatant negligence and irresponsible housing practices," the GW Housing Horrors page reads. A group of summer interns who say they're paying about $400 a week to stay in the dorms this summer and experienced less than optimal living conditions, kicked things off with pictures showing sewage spewing from a sink, a ceiling collapsing on a toilet, and dirt coated air filters.

The page has attracted hundreds of likes, dozens of comments, and some response from the University's Facebook page.

According to the University administration, these conditions are not a performative attempt to fight the school's rich-kid reputation.

"Those photos are unacceptable to us, and we do regret that these experiences happened to our students," Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski tells City Desk. "It's given us a chance to look at our own customer service and responsiveness to enhance our training."

The University has nearly 30 dorms of varying types, and most of the pictures posted in the Facebook group seems to come from a few dorms that underclassmen typically reside in.

It should be noted that one of GW's dorms—the not-so-subtly named Ivory Tower Dorm—made Princeton Review's 2012 list of best college dorms.

Feel bad for the rest of GW's summer tenants, then.

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  • Emily

    Except that Ivory Tower has a roach infestation, mold, and falling ceiling tiles. Upperclassmen dorms are equally terrible and housing is even more unresponsive to the complaints of it's full-time students.

  • Jacqueline Harvey, Ph.D.

    I was in the GRADUATE DORM to help run a summer internship program in DC with another professor. I stayed at the Hall on Virginia Avenue which is, once again-graduate students only. When I arrived, my room had black mold, hair and filth, leaky pipes and broken A/C that took over a week to fix. They told me they would have someone clean but I said they had to put me somewhere else for the night. Where they put me had doors off the hinges the air conditioner box was hanging from the wall with exposed wires, a layer of dust, a horrible smell and broken furniture. It does not matter if it were undergraduates or not, this is NOT okay.

  • mike

    my son was a victim of gw housing. He is gone from there now, but the unpleasant experiences linger for me. In four years I had a chance to observe four dorms he was assigned. All were decrepit, filthy, moldly, crowded and, I believe, unhealthy. We were relatively poor so I coudn't afford the better dorms.

    I am glad that the summer interns (most not even affiliated with gw) took the initiative to complain and start a facebook account about the deplorable housing conditions at gw. Wait until all the students come back to see the facebook account take off. It may even have too much traffic eventually.

    Remember, the interns were housed apparently in several distinct dormatories. We did not yet get a good earful about the mess called Mitchell Hall. Of course, crawford and schenley are being torn down I hear. I am sure that there will be many more complaints when all the students return.

    Now that there has been bad publicity for this place, the administration is pledging some action. I have heard this in the past. Without going into all the details, I as aware that Knapp had granted an audience to a student concerning complaints about filthy housing. Knapp's office was to get back to the student - it never did. Nothing changed.

    If Knapp was a captain of a ship in the U.S. Navy, I can guarantee that complaints such as these would be dealt with immediately and personally by the captain and the highest ranking enlisted sailor. Instead of granting meetings maybe Knapp should put on his walking shoes and walk the block or two to where these decrepit dormotories are located and see for himself. That is what any responsible leader would do. Instead he trots out that fool Kernowski (sp?) to fall on the grenade and take the blame for decades of neglect. Is that worthless pos Wheinshell (sp?)still with the school?

    Finally, maybe now, the princeton review will remove that moniker about gw, "dorms like palaces." If you keep telling the big lie over and over again all will come to believe.

    The emperor enjoyed his new clothes long enough, try to follow through on your empty promises gw. BTW, nice makeover with the new branding. Maybe you should have used Mr. Clean in place of george.

  • JR

    The reason the dorms are falling apart? Union employees. Get ride of the lazy do-nothings and hire a third-party contract to manage ALL of the dorms, not just specific ones. Then, when the contractor fails to manage them, get another property manager. Rinse and repeat until a company that knows what it's doing is found. Then, pay the money to retain that contract.

  • mike


    Yes, good common sense thinking. however, when my son moved into the filth that was Mitchell Hall. After he was moved in (no one was smart enough to look up at the hvac unit), you could see the gross filth extruding from the unit. It was obvious that it had not been cleaned in many years. The head of maintenence for that bldg. said he would not touch it until monday (it was late on a friday). A young man with the main. unit did try to clean it, but the filth was overwhelming and everywhere. You could not open the unit the check and replace the filter because the screws holding the cover plate were rusted shut. They would have had to be drilled out. This poor guy breathed in all that filth, mold, mildew and crud.

    However, he said that a company had been hired by gwu to clean, fix and/or replace all HVAC units in Mitchell that summer (2011). Apparently, they failed to do anything about this unit. Of course, it was clear that nobody from gwu inspected this unit. If the company did not do its job, what the f is the gwu law school for?

    Well I wouldn't let my son live in such a filthy place. I went with him to a local army base to get a room for the night (i'm retired). Yes, the army is clean. It will teach you to be clean even out in the field - unlike gwu. The next morning I went with my son (yeah big daddy father) to the housing office. I would not let this continue. We had to meet an ahole named Paris at the room. Paris said he was the new head of maint. He was full of sheez, as you might expect. He was going to do this that and everything to have the room cleaned up (there was mold present on the ceiling also). He did not. Later meetings were held with the admin, including Knapp. They all proved themselves to be lying weasels whose words were as good as cheap toilet paper. The housing staff did put my son up at the vern only because I had to leave that day (the day of hurricane Irene). Everything had to be moved out of mitchell and taken to the vern, about six trips with one vehicle. This was all because no one in our party was smart enough to look at the hvac unit before moving into mitchell. The hvac unit at the vern was also filthy but that maint. crew cleaned it on the spot. It also had water leaking but was taken care of.

    Of course, my son did not want to live at the vern and suffer the daily bus commutes. he was a senior. I was too poor to get him better housing in the local economy.

    My point? The gwu admin. are a bunch of lying weasels. I will go out of my way to discourage anyone from ever appyling let alone attending this sham and shame of a university. The admin. including knapp have been in dc too long - when you cant stone wall something flat out lie.

    The whole housing admin. is incompetent. That includes that weinshel pos, his employees, and that worthless pos they sent out to apologize, kernowski (sp?). i don't think he will be there that long after he is fired in the near future, thankfully. Watch, after he apologizes all over the place for the filthy dorms, they will throw him under the bus.

    Only Knapp will survive, like a cockroach, too bad.