Archive for Thursday, February 1, 2007

Human waste from burst pipe disrupts KU class

February 1, 2007


It was a timely - and smelly - reminder of Kansas University's maintenance troubles.

On Monday morning, chemistry professor Richard Givens was teaching a course in organic chemistry in Room 2007 of Malott Hall when water started dripping through a ceiling tile overhead. Eventually, it became clear that human waste was coming from a leak in a sewer drain pipe.

Givens had the misfortune of getting a drop on his hand.

"In pulling my hand back to myself, I could smell it. It was not very nice," he said. "It was clear there was a drainage problem."

The leak sprang as lawmakers were in Topeka trying to hatch a plan for dealing with KU's backlogged maintenance. Malott Hall, which opened in the 1950s, was one stop on a campus tour lawmakers received last year of campus buildings in sore need of an upgrade.

Chemistry faculty say the clay pipes that broke this week appear to be decades old.

"In many ways, this is indicative of the problems the university has with maintenance of its facilities," Givens said.

Givens canceled the class for the day, and the room couldn't be used Tuesday or Wednesday as crews worked to fix the leak. It apparently started after a main pipe clogged and caused other pipes to leak.

"I felt so bad for the facilities people. ... They had to go in and cut the pipe and break it apart," said Susan Teague, the department's business manager. "It was just all over the room. We had to have the custodians come and sanitize the room after that, and it still smells."


Kelly Powell 10 years, 1 month ago

the kids got a real lesson in organic chemistry...

Kuku_Kansas 10 years, 1 month ago

Man, and I thought I had a bad day.

While I did have to deal with bulls#&t yesterday, at least I didn't get any of it on my hand.

geekin_topekan 10 years, 1 month ago

I read an article about a police officer who cited a fast food worker for "snotting" on his sandwich. I have to ask,at whhat point did he realize his sandwich had been tampered with? A hands on approach,as with this professor,is sometimes the only way.

trinity 10 years, 1 month ago

i had one class in malott in the late 80's-it was a pretty nasty ol' building back then!

ick ick ick. i'd have hurled to be sure.

justthefacts 10 years, 1 month ago

So, anyone want to discuss why the University spent tens of thousands of dollars (or more) to do a search for a new way to write out "KU" and then switch all the stationary, business cards, etc. over to it, or millions of dollars spent to put in new flowers and shrubs, INSTEAD of using that same money to fix or update old buildings and facilities?

No one believes that the facilities should be left to rot. However, why should the tax payers have any faith in the spending decisions of individuals or a system where the above examples of poor fiscal management are rampant?

I for one would like to see them do what they need to do within their current budgets - or less. Everyone else has to tighten their belts when things get lean, or go bankrupt. Why shouldn't those who run the government start learning to live within their/our means?

bd 10 years, 1 month ago

pilch you left out how great the endowment assoc. is doing! $1+billion ? sounds like McDonalds!

Redzilla 10 years, 1 month ago

Don't even get me started on the stupid stationery. My department was chastised for using the old stuff, but we've got four more boxes that we refuse to waste. This is classic "CEO" behavior--all about the image, regardless of what kind of infrastructure is holding up the image.

oldgoof 10 years, 1 month ago

Oh crap, I have chemistry class next hour! :)

H2Hummer 10 years, 1 month ago

Are we sure this isn't related to Turner Broadcasting and the Cartoon Network?

Sounds more like MTV Punked!

Check under the desks and make sure there are no marketing reps!

budwhysir 10 years, 1 month ago

Looks like it is time to add another lane to the turnpike and put in some extra toll boths, we will need to get this one fixed quick. Well, unless we can raise the funds to just build a new building. Thats an idea that might be in the works.

I suggest a study of feasibility to see if we should just build brand new universities with a focus on athletics

Dayna Lee 10 years, 1 month ago

I've never understood why the students don't help with some of these problems. Make a class project out of it.

fletch 10 years, 1 month ago

justthefacts: The new logo was developed using Endowment money from a private donor who earmarked the money for that project. It would have broken numerous laws if KU had spent that money on anything else. If you don't like the fact that money was spent on it, go track down the donor and yell at him/her. The administration has no control over donor behavior. I worked at the Endowment as a student, and I can tell you that 95% of the people that donate already have an idea of where they want their money to go (usually to the department they graduated from or some program that hold a personal connection to). If somebody gives you $15,000 and says "use this money to look into a visual identity," you might as well spend it.

As for the insinuation that KU hasn't been cutting costs, you're just wrong. I've seen numerous departments having to let go of associate professors and office staff to meet funding mandates. I've seen the office supply budget be slashed in half. I've seen previously free services for students be given service fees. I've seen health plans get scaled back. I've seen offices operating with little heat during the winter and no AC during the summer. Time after time, the operational budget of the University has been slashed. The only examples people seem to come up with are the fact that Hemingway and Perkins make big paychecks. Hemingway's raises come from the Regents, and his supplemental money is provided, again, by Endowment donors who earmark the money. Perkins is paid by the Athletics Corporation out of money that comes from their own budget, and not from the state (KUAC is a private corporation). KU has done it's fair part is slashing the budget. It's time for the State Legislature to do their part.

budwhysir 10 years, 1 month ago

Lets see install new sewer lines or play football in KC??? Thats an easy one to answer

OnlyTheOne 10 years, 1 month ago

Aw com'on Fletch we're not Topeka politicians out here. You expect us to believe not there's an "unwritten" list of pet projects that people are out trying to find "doners" for.

Tychoman 10 years, 1 month ago

Man there are so many fun jokes to make about this event. I can't help but notice the irony of human waste in an orgo class. Wow.

AKgirlinKS 10 years, 1 month ago

Fletch, thank you!

As a student I get frustrated with lack of knowledge people display about funding at KU. I don't know how many times I hear people point to things like that logo re-do or other seemingly frivilous projects and say "why doesn't that money get used for repairs?". Why can't some people understand this? Why can't LJ World report this fact in their stories so people can at least stop claiming ignorance...

I just had my first lab in Malott today and wow, I honestly felt a little afraid for my safety. I'd be amazed if those fume hoods actually worked properly to protect the students from potentially carcinogenic compounds...

Someday, if I make a million dollars, I know where I would earmark my donation to, screw a "gateway" or "image redo", my money would go to new labs.

budwhysir 10 years, 1 month ago

What if we put up some of the little mobil classrooms that the other schools are using?? Seems like a solution to all the problems if you ask me.

Lets look at a fact here, Doesnt the university have a book store?? What if they set up a lottery system and sold tickets thru the book store. The funds could be used by the university for repairs, and the payout funds would come from ticket sales.

The university could also open a bingo game on friday nights, this would bring in alot of players. If the games where held on the university, they could charge the regular price for a visitors pass and use the income for road repairs.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 10 years, 1 month ago

What a crappy deal! Pretty awesome cheesehead! Thank you, Lynn

rollcar 10 years, 1 month ago

If there really is a person out there who has nothing better to do with their money than to donate tens of thousands of dollars for the specific purpose of having little curls added to the bottom of the "K" and the "U", I would sure like to meet them. I might even make the "U" into a little smiley face for an extra 20 grand or so.

If we have crap falling from the ceiling at the university, I would say there are more pressing needs than a new "visual identity".

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