Many classes in May and Dwight halls were cancelled or relocated during the heat wave that occurred the week of Sept. 7 after the administration received numerous complaints from professors about conditions in the buildings.
During the heat wave, professors were given permission by Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Linda Vaden-Goad to cancel their classes if they utilized the University’s Blackboard site to post assignments for students to compete during their normally scheduled class times.
Junior Rebecca Nealon said her class, Investigating Social Forces in American Society, was originally supposed to be held in May Hall. However, Nealon said she received a Blackboard notification from her professor, David Nnyanzi, the night before that read, “No in-class instruction tomorrow (Wednesday) due to heat.”
Senior Tim Randall said, “I’m a super-senior. I’ve been here long enough to accept that May Hall is just a hot building,” said Randall.
Richard Allen, a professor at FSU since 1997, said periods of extreme heat have been an issue throughout his time at the school. He said he feels the administration has more of a “what can’t we do for you today?” attitude.
He added, “Administration is insensitive or indifferent to the heat issue.”
Allen’s main concern is that the students are ultimately the ones suffering. “It’s a question of wellbeing. … Students can’t be expected to stay engaged when they’re about to drop,” he said.
Allen is one of many professors who cut classes short during the heat wave. He added that while the fans in May Hall were appreciated, they were very noisy, and he “had to shout.”
Senior Julie Marcus commented on the heat wave, saying, “It was so hot I couldn’t even think in class.”
Fans were eventually delivered to May Hall classrooms by Dean of Arts and Humanities Marc Cote.
“I knew about the issue and I had tried to get fans ahead of time in mid-August, but the order got stalled and by the time the first day of classes came, the order still wasn’t in,” said Cote. “My administrative assistant and I went and purchased fans from Home Depot and Lowes.” They then transported the fans back to the campus in their own vehicles and set them up with the assistance of Facilities employees.
Cote added he had “created a chart of classrooms that had fans and didn’t have fans, how many fans, and what kind of fans.” Then he tried to figure out how many fans particular classrooms needed. Cote said he was relying on feedback from faculty about how effective a certain number of fans were in different rooms based on circulation.
Joshua Clarke, a first-year student, said, “We were in [May Hall] 213, and we had to move to 214, but it didn’t really work out. The idea was to not be in such a condensed room.”
Executive Vice President Dale Hamel said the reason most buildings on campus don’t have air conditioning is because “over three quarters of the campus was constructed prior to 1970.
“Currently, May Hall is scheduled for an A/C provision project for summer 2017,” but the project is subject to change during an annual review.
Cote described the renovations to be made to May Hall as being part of a “fluid plan, meaning it can always change.” The plan would change if University administrators think there are other parts of the campus that need to be tended to first.
Past projects “have jumped the line,” which has caused the delay of May Hall’s air conditioning installation, including the completion of the new science building addition to Hemenway Hall and current renovations to Crocker Hall, according to Hamel.
The University installed a new air-conditioning system in Hemenway Hall which is the large enough to support air conditioning in May Hall as well.
According to Hamel, the current cost estimate for installing air conditioning in May Hall is $$415,000 while the Dwight Hall upgrade would cost $355,000. “These projects are on a five-year capital spending plan under the College Financed section – meaning student fees cover the costs.”
While senior Christina Kapinos appreciated that fans were provided in May Hall, she believes this response was not enough.
“The school’s responsibility to its students is to provide a safe environment for all, but during the times that the building got so hot, it seemed Framingham’s priorities were elsewhere.”