Students react to accidental fire alarms
Some universities are known for the sweet sound of mockingbirds chirping on any given morning. Others are famous for the loud, bellowing noises of 18th century bells chiming from the top of Gothic towers. Still others have come to be associated with the short, measured breaths of freshmen cracking under the pressure of a pre-med curriculum.
Washington University, however, has been known by its students for a sound altogether different from those of other universities: the sound of accidental fire alarms on the South 40 and North Side.
The accidental fire alarms have mainly occurred in modern dorms, particularly the Liggett-Koenig Residential College and the sophomore dormitory Shepley.
The students’ response to these alarms has been marked by indignant frustration and concern.
“[The fire alarms] are an incredibly irritating occurrence…I definitely think they are way too ultra sensitive,” Marie Mikhail, a freshman living on the fourth floor of Koenig House, said.
Mikhail goes on to exclaim that those students who have irresponsibly burned their baked goods or allowed the steam from their showers to escape from the bathrooms should be held responsible, citing the possibility of giving them demerits.
“People are starting to take [the alarms] less and less seriously. I think that makes these accidental alarms dangerous,” student Ilana Gatoff said.
Gatoff raised an important concern. As fire alarms seem to become more and more commonplace on the South 40, some students have considered ignoring the alarms and remaining in their dorms. One resident of Liggett-Koenig has reported begging her roommate to disregard the alarms and go back to sleep, claiming instead that it is simply another false alarm. Although the alarms are incidental, the University administration, Residential Life and the Wash. U. Police Department must seriously address the problem in order to prevent a fatal incident.
Both Residential Life and WUPD were unable to be reached for comment.
Despite the fact that the University is able to construct entire buildings seemingly overnight, provide its students with some of the best food available, and has a staggering endowment of $5.65 billion according to Washington University’s annual report on financial endowment, the University is still unable to solve such a minor problem as triggering fire alarms. With winter approaching, the residents of the South 40 can only hope the problem is resolved before they are left standing in the snow, wearing their pajamas.