WKU student Kentavius Curlin helps Connor Saylor move into McCormack Hall on Saturday, Jan. 27. (Photo by Emilee Arnold)

Hilltopper Hall residents share thoughts after dorm closure

Hilltopper Hall has been temporarily closed due to construction issues, with no specified reopening date. Residents received the news via email on Thursday, Jan. 18 from WKU Housing and Residence Life, which said “members of WKU’s Facilities Management team noticed that some of the exterior masonry work on Hilltopper Hall had shifted out of position.” No other information about the physical state of the dorm was issued to students, who are now reflecting on their experience after moving out.

Workers, parents and volunteers wheel boxes out of Hilltopper Hall on Saturday, Jan. 27. (Photo by Emilee Arnold)


The first town hall meeting was held on Friday, Jan. 19 at Hilltopper to discuss the logistics of the move and address any concerns. The meetings were exclusive to Hilltopper residents and staff. 

On the same day, a survey was released for students to indicate their preferred relocation choices, which included McCormack Hall and limited private rooms within Pearce-Ford Tower and Douglas Keen Hall. Assistance with relocation began on Jan. 26, with a deadline set for Sunday, Feb. 4 at 6 p.m. for all relocations. 

Hopkinsville junior Mandy Dossett described that the news was poorly timed out and forced students into a panic. 

“When you’re told you have two weeks to pack your life up and move, you’re scrambling,” Dossett said. “You don’t really know what to do.” 

Connor Saylor moves boxes into his new room in McCormack Hall on Saturday, Jan. 27. (Photo by Emilee Arnold)

Dossett said that she received the news during her class, while Auburn sophomore Connor Saylor said he and his roommate got the message afterward.  

“It was definitely annoying because the semester just started. It was the first actual day of classes,” Saylor said. 

Saylor said that he attended the meeting at Hilltopper, but he said he felt that some questions being asked were actively avoided by HRL. 


Nashville sophomore Tyler Fernandez attended as well, but he felt that it caused a bit more chaos than what was already happening beforehand. 

“I was baffled, too, by the news,” Fernandez said. “I think people got even more frustrated with the meeting.” 

Fernandez said that students wanted answers about why the administrators decided to relocate them at the beginning of the semester.  

“But housing said they just wanted to focus the meeting on what to do next,” Fernandez said. 

WKU sophomore broadcasting major Tyler Fernandez looks around his room on the sixth floor of McCormack Hall as his mother, Regina Fernandez, helps him unpack on Sunday, Jan. 28. (Photo by Arthur H. Trickett-Wile)

Dossett did not attend the meeting, but she feels that the administration did fairly well with their compensation offers. HRL will be refunding the money charged to live in Hilltopper, and giving an additional one-time $1,000 housing credit to offset the dorm charges of relocating. 

Students moving off campus, however, will not be receiving the housing credit. Instead, they will receive an exemption from the student housing policy, which states that undergraduate students are required to live on campus for two years. 

Fernandez, who decided to move to McCormack, expressed frustration over the lack of monetary support being given to students who decided to move off campus. 

“Honestly, I kind of think that’s messed up,” Fernandez said. “Because why are we penalizing people for going off campus?”

Fernandez said he understands why people decided to move off campus and extended his empathy toward students who felt they didn’t have a choice. 

“Everyone should be rewarded for the pain and suffering endured over these last few days,” Fernandez said. 

WKU sophomore broadcasting major Tyler Fernandez, alongside hundreds of other students residing in neighboring Hilltopper Hall, was forced to relocate early in the semester due to structural damage. “When I first got the news, it was baffling. I was frustrated,” Fernandez said. (Photo by Arthur H. Trickett-Wile)


Considering the distance between Dossett’s hometown and campus, she decided that moving home was off the table. However, her boyfriend suggested that she move off campus with him and his roommate.  

“I’m so grateful because he’s just a huge sweetheart,” Dossett said. 

Dossett said that moving on campus was an option, but she felt it wouldn’t fit with her personal needs. She expressed that she had outgrown the culture of being placed with a random roommate. 

“I’m 20; I feel I’m past that,” Dossett said. “I personally don’t want to share a bathroom with an 18-year-old again.” 

Dossett has only known her boyfriend for three months, and while she feels lucky that she had the support that she did, she described that she didn’t feel like she had another option.

“This is a big life event that I’m being forced into without my consent,” Dossett said. 

WKU sophomore broadcasting major Tyler Fernandez folds a red towel as he settles into a dorm room on the sixth floor of McCormack Hall on Sunday, Jan. 28. (Photo by Arthur H. Trickett-Wile)

Fernandez had mixed feelings about whether students are receiving ample support. Fernandez said he appreciated that materials such as trucks, boxes and packing tape were offered to students. However, he wanted more time to prepare. 

“It definitely could have been timed out better; I think that’s why people were upset,” Fernandez said. 


Fernandez’s work includes doing narration for games in real-time, or play-by-play, for Greenwood Gator Sports. He said the stress of balancing school and his off-campus job as a sports broadcaster has been a lot to handle. 

“You’ve just got to find your way around that,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez said that because he chose to stay on campus, he doesn’t anticipate any issues with continuing his normal schedule after the move. However, he does foresee some challenges with upholding the friendships he made at Hilltopper. 

“I’ve made some wonderful friends here,” Fernandez said. “They’ve welcomed me with open arms.” 

Connor Saylor waits for the elevators in Hilltopper Hall to arrive to the first floor as he moves out on Saturday, Jan. 27. (Photo by Emilee Arnold)

Dossett feels that the university didn’t realize the weight the decision to relocate had on students.   

“I don’t think the administrators understood the scale of what they were doing to people,” Dossett said.  

Saylor, who also moved to McCormack, said that his feelings about the university have changed following the relocation and the way the meeting had gone.

“It’s upsetting, and I don’t have as much respect for them anymore just with how they handled it,” Saylor said. 

Connor Saylor moves boxes into his new dorm room in McCormack Hall on Saturday, Jan. 27. (Photo by Emilee Arnold)


Saylor said that he remembers when the scaffolding was put up around Hilltopper, and connected this to the rumors he heard about an inspection conducted in November. Considering this, Saylor said that he would have preferred to hear information directly from the Student Life Foundation, who made the decision to move students out, during winter break.    

“The fact that they are worried about it so much that they have to move us out, but let us stay there for two months is a little wrong,” Saylor said. 

According to a statement from Housing and Residence Life, the Student Life Foundation made the decision to relocate Hilltopper Hall residents based on preliminary findings not provided prior to winter break.

“The Student Life Foundation only received the preliminary findings and met to review them on January 17, 2024, and at that time they made the decision to relocate the Hilltopper Hall residents,” the statement said. 

Connor Saylor looks out the window of his old room in Hilltopper Hall as he prepares to move out on Saturday, Jan. 27. (Photo by Emilee Arnold)

Dossett said that she was a little surprised that they would close Hilltopper because she feels there are other issues with other dorms that don’t take as much priority. 

“In PFT and Hugh Poland, I remember that pipes would burst and the bathrooms would be filling up with water,” Dossett said. 


Dossett describes that she and other students have discussed the amount of attention Hilltopper received in comparison to issues with other dorms.  

“We were saying that Hilltopper got all the attention because yah, it’s a more life-threatening issue, but also because they have athletes,” Dossett said.  

Dossett feels that the administration is focusing on safeguarding their financial security due to the number of athletes housed in Hilltopper. 

“They want to preserve their athletes because that’s what makes them money,” Dossett said. 

Considering this, Dossett questions if the administrators are prioritizing their student’s well-being. 

“I don’t know if the administrators have the student’s best interest, but they definitely have their salary and money as their best interest,” Dossett said.  

Connor Saylor locks the door to his old room in Hilltopper Hall for the last time on Saturday, Jan. 27. (Photo by Emilee Arnold)

Dossett said that her perspective on the university hasn’t changed, but she feels that their current actions align with their approach to past situations.

“It seems that they know where their priorities lie, that’s all I’m gonna say,” Dossett said. 

HRL said the investigation in Hilltopper Hall is ongoing and will keep students informed as more information is discovered.