Tight-Lipped Admins

    So, more than anything, the recent protest in fearful reaction to the Literature Building’s cluster has highlighted, once again, the need to make transparent all information relevant to the situation. Ironically, in an effort to avoid unnecessary panic, administrators have caused a department-wide frenzy, fueled by those who were informed only second- and thirdhand of the threat and therefore do not understand the possible steps they could take to personally avoid any danger (which, at this point, is technically very minimal). A simple mass e-mail to the department, and ideally the entire campus, providing up-to-date information on identified problem areas and potential solutions, could easily qualm the fireworks.

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    ‘Cancer’ is one of those hot-button words, especially in a higher-education setting ‘mdash; like ‘bomb’ in the airport security line, or ‘shark’ on a scuba trip ‘mdash; that can’t be thrown around without causing some degree of freak-out, most often of the irrational variety. When vague, pretty-please-don’t-use-me flyers were posted on the Literature Building elevators a couple months ago, in response to a study that suggested the elevator power systems were a probable source of the abnormally high level of cancer cases among longtime employees, malignant rumors abounded ‘mdash; of, predictably, the irrational variety.

    Seeing as neither the administration nor the lit. department released any additional information on the results of the study or levels of electromagnetic fields in different parts of the building, as soon as the ‘cancer’ bomb dropped ‘mdash; keep in mind, this is almost 10 months after the cluster was first identified, not to mention probably 10 years after it truly began ‘mdash; instructors and students hit Library Walk, hysterical about the prospect of ill-causing evils in their building, pickets in hand, to express their anger over the university’s apparent apathy in the face of a deadly ailment.

    Unfortunately for their cause, the activists appeared largely uninformed; a motley crew marched to the chancellor’s complex demanding a new building altogether and emphasizing that they came to the university to obtain a degree, not cancer, while the vague elevator warning was replaced with a reactionary coffin and equally vague ‘We want an answer, not cancer!’ flyer.

    Considering the university is actually doing more at this point than at any point up until now ‘mdash; administrators have quietly chartered multiple reports of the building, moved staff out of offices in possibly harmful zones and have recruited the services of a specialist, who held a largely under-publicized informational Q’amp;A ‘mdash; it’s a little late to get mad.

    So, more than anything, the recent protest in fearful reaction to the Literature Building’s cluster has highlighted, once again, the need to make transparent all information relevant to the situation. Ironically, in an effort to avoid unnecessary panic, administrators have caused a department-wide frenzy, fueled by those who were informed only second- and thirdhand of the threat and therefore do not understand the possible steps they could take to personally avoid any danger (which, at this point, is technically very minimal). A simple mass e-mail to the department, and ideally the entire campus, providing up-to-date information on identified problem areas and potential solutions, could easily qualm the fireworks.

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