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."