Would you believe me if I told you that Revelle administrators think a 13-inch television is a bigger fire hazard than a wood table, wood desk, wood sofa, wood bed, wood shelves, wood doors, wood closets and wood chairs?
Well, they do.
As ridiculous as this may sound, Revelle college forbids televisions to be left in students’ suites, citing them as fire hazards. This inane rule states that a television may only be in the shared suite area if it is being watched and that the moment it is turned off, it must be unplugged and placed inside one of the rooms. If the owner fails to do so, he is written up.
Although we all just love repeating the tedious process of setting up the television and unplugging it shortly thereafter (a very therapeutic way to spend a study break, of course), it is hardly worth the effort just to watch a single television show.
The idea itself is just plain ridiculous. What is so flammable about a 13-inch television? Think about it: The television is made out of plastic, but virtually everything else in the suite is made out of wood or flammable cloth. I am far more worried about the wooden table bursting into flames than the television that sits on top of it.
Furthermore, how can a television possibly be a bigger fire hazard than the microwaves many of us have in our rooms? To my knowledge, more fires have been started by unattended microwaves than by unattended televisions.
How can Revelle possibly justify its claim? None of the other colleges have this absurd rule. I called the provost’s office to find out, and was told that someone would call back with information. Unfortunately, no one returned my call, so one can only speculate about the rationale being applied here.
The fact that televisions are electric will not fly; we have electric lights bolted to the walls. Worried about water dripping on it? No, I think that an electrical outlet placed within a foot of the bathroom sinks is a bit more dangerous. Worried about tripping on the power cord? Come on, if you panic during a fire, you’re more likely to get your foot stuck in the wastebasket than trip over that. Spontaneous combustion? A television is about as likely to spontaneously combust as a bowl of corn flakes.
Then what can it be? The lack of a sprinkler system? If the school thinks these buildings would be seriously endangered in the case of a fire, we should not be living in them.
While we do not need to have a television in our suites to survive, it would definitely make life a bit easier. Besides, what is so wrong with leaving a small television in our suite? Yes, there is a risk of theft, but if that is a risk the owner is willing to take, then so be it. It is neither the school’s responsibility nor its jurisdiction to tell students where they can or cannot leave their televisions.
Keep in mind that these are freshmen students living in the residence halls. Does the administration want us to feel like this is truly our home or like we are guests? A 13-inch television really is not that great a safety risk, and if no one is bothered by it, then why not allow us to leave it in our suites?