Suspicious smell seeps through JKHB

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    By Barbara Smith

    The construction outside the JKHB is causing more of a problem than just noise.

    Fumes from construction near the Jesse Knight Humanities Building are making faculty and students sick.

    Several times over the past few weeks and most recently Thursday, Feb. 7., diesel fumes from the construction machinery has seeped into the building, affecting those inside.

    John Rosenberg, associate dean of the College of Humanities said he has received several complaints from faculty in the building.

    He said he has spoken with the Planning Department, which would possibly find a solution, but nothing has been done yet.

    “I don”t know that anybody quite knew what kind of measures to take,” Rosenberg said.

    He said several faculty members have complained of headaches and nausea due to the fumes.

    Rosenberg said the fumes are mostly concentrated on the fourth floor but can be detected throughout the building.

    Wilfried Decoo, a French professor whose office is on the fourth floor, said he sometimes gets a slight headache.

    Not only is the faculty affected, but so are students. A class held in the JKHB was cancelled because the smell was too distracting.

    Rosenberg said his secretary has called Risk Management several times to see if the smell was harmful. However, after checking, no levels of harm were found.

    Risk Management gave instructions to custodial to prop open the building doors when the fumes are noticed, said Jim Bonnett, JKHB custodian.

    “It was starting to make me a little nauseous,” Bonnett said.

    Rosenberg said they are waiting for action to be taken on the smell.

    He said the issue is that those involved cannot figure out what is going on.

    The fumes originated outside but then funneled into the fresh air intake shaft, which is connected to the ventilation system.

    “We are very concerned, in the dean”s office, about the working conditions in the building,” Rosenberg said.

    Even though the problem has been occurring for several weeks, Rosenberg said he thought at first it was not too much of a problem.

    “It was hard to gage the seriousness of the problem,” Rosenberg said.

    Several faculty have repeatedly tried to let the college know the amount of distraction it has been causing.

    “Something has to be done about it,” Decoo said.

    Decoo said to try and remedy this problem could be to allow the faculty to open their windows.

    “It is a health hazard that people can”t open the windows,” he said.

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