New sprinkler system to be installed on Eastern’s campus

Eastern University is complying with a request made by the state of Pennsylvania concerning sprinkler systems being placed in all university buildings. This request was made after a tragedy in 2000 at Seton Hall University, New Jersey, which claimed the lives of three 18 year olds.

Following the Seton Hall incident, New Jersey passed a mandate stating that all colleges and universities were to be equipped with sprinkler systems in all residence halls by August of 2004. Pennsylvania wanted to enact the same law and follow suit by 2005, but instead pulled back the mandate and requested that all universities put an action plan together.

This action plan includes all colleges and universities using their own discretion in placing sprinkler systems in the schools.

“Eastern has abided and is committed to that plan,” said Rob Smith, director of campus services.

At this time, the university is working on installing sprinkler systems in Warner Library and Doane Hall. Doane A was completed in 2003, Doane D will be completed this year and Doane B and C are pending completion in 2005.

“What awaits us for the future is Guffin in 2006 and either Kea or Gallup in 2007,” Smith said.

At this moment Gough, Hainer and North Campus Hall have a full sprinkler system along with Heritage House, Workman Hall, and the cafeteria area of Walton.

Sprinkler systems will soon be a part of every buidling.

The construction of the sprinkler system will cause traffic to be tight along Thomas Drive for the next few weeks.

“Workers will be digging holes four feet deep and 24 inches wide in Thomas Drive in order to accommodate the six inch sprinkler lines,” Smith said.

As workers place the new sprinkler systems in each building, they are also completing other tasks while each building is off the water line.

“Lights and tiles are being replaced and fully equipped fire alarm systems are being put in residence halls as we work on the sprinkler systems,” Smith said. “This is a project that is costly but will undoubtedly save the lives of many,” he added.

The sprinkler system service alone will cost the school about $42,000. This year Eastern will spend about $36,000 for the work in Doane Hall. Along with the individual costs, there are also fees that must be paid yearly as construction continues.

“The ultimate goal of the school is to keep the students safe and not allow another Seton Hall incident to reoccur,” Smith said.

Political opinions stir up anger

When they reached their office doors on September 22, Dr. Kathy Lee, chair of the political science department, Mark Hallen, professor of communication studies and theatre, and Dr. Wendy Mercier, professor of biology and biokinetics, discovered that they were victims of theft.

“When I got here this morning, I saw that my and Mark Hallen’s door had been stripped of our political bumper stickers.

Later on, Professor Brink found them in the trash can,” Lee said.

Mercier, who did not get to her office until that afternoon, also noticed that her bumper sticker reading, “Kerry Edwards 2004” had been torn down.

Mercier explained that she would rather have people come and talk to her about their differing viewpoints instead of stealing private property.

“They [the thieves] probably did it because they have an opposing opinion and they think eliminating my sign registers their opinion,” Mercier said.

Some of Lee’s stripped bumper stickers, which she has now recovered, have slogans reading “Christians for Kerry,” “Bush Cheney 1984” and “Shame on NRA.”

A few items, like a black button stating “no mas muertos [no more deaths]” were left on Lee’s door. According to Dr. Lee, when Dr. Betsy Morgan, professor of English, saw the stripped door, Morgan said, “They must not have known Spanish or else they would have taken the button too.”

“This is a malignant action, a really malignant and cowardly action. And it’s kind of creepy. But, the bottom line is that, in the end, my vote cancels out the thief’s vote,” Mercier said.

In response to the attack, Lee has posted a sign on her door that reads, “To whomever stripped my door of bumper stickers: Why don’t you have the courage to talk to me about your political viewpoints rather than taking the coward’s way out, slinking around, taking private property.”

Lee alerted all of her classes to the bumper sticker thefts. Sophomore Shawn Murphy, president of the College Republicans, wrote to Lee in response to the incident. According to Lee, Murphy explained that he will be sending an email to the College Republicans on campus and investigating to make sure that the thefts were not done by a member of the group.

“I immediately condemned these actions, especially since it demonstrated a lack of respect for our faculty,” Murphy said.

“College is supposed to be a free marketplace of ideas, and it is being suppressed by such inappropriate actions,” he added.

To the bumper sticker thieves, Hallen poignantly said,

“In the name of Jesus, you ‘mo-fos’ keep your hands off my door. And if you do put your hands on my door – knock.”