By Shasha Nakhai
Furniture installed this past September in Kerr Hall North’s basement engineering lounge was trashed over the winter break.
While doing routine inspections, Ian Hamilton, director of campus planning and facilities, found a wall kicked in, grafittied furniture, severed electrical connections in the new tables, and furniture once mounted to the walls and floor unscrewed and tossed away.
“We are very sad and dismayed that it was vandalized so quickly,” said Hamilton.
But engineering students say the damage wasn’t done on purpose. Stevie Gaal, a second-year aerospace engineering student, said he knows who knocked the whole in the wall and how it happened.
He said the person leaned back in one of the new, springy metal chairs and pushed off from wall with their feet, rocking back and forth. “The initial hole wasn’t someone trying to break it,” Gaal said, adding that after it was made, students kept rocking against the hole, making it bigger.
Though Gaal maintained that the hole in the wall was accidental, he’s not surprised the other areas have taken a beating: Many engineers are reportedly unhappy with the new airport inspired furniture.
There used to be a lot of large tables and plastic chairs students could move around, said Gaal, The plastic chairs were torn and the tables sometimes wobbly, “We weren’t so happy to get rid of those,” he said. The new tables only seat four students, said Gaal, adding some group projects require space for more than four people.
“Once we take out all our laptops and textbooks, even some of the bigger tables only seat about two people.” Ryerson Engineering Student’s Society (RESS) vice-president Justin Kaufman said RESS has heard students’ complaints about the furniture and is “definitely working to fix it.”
Others are glad the old furniture is history and are happy with what last year’s RESS president, Phil Arthurs, picked out for the lounge. The old furniture was “a piece of crap,” according to Jay Lee, a second-year mechanical engineering student who frequently visits the student lounge.
Lee says he thinks the space has improved tremendously after the new furniture was put in. Roberto Lara, a fourth-year civil engineering student, remembers the old furniture as haggard and torn. “They had holes in them and were duct-taped. You could see the sponge coming out.” He thinks the lounge looks nicer and cleaner with the new furniture.
Meanwhile, Hamilton feels all students, not just engineers, have suffered as a result of the damaged furniture. He said money to fix the damage ultimately comes out of the student purse. “The (whole) campus suffers when vandalism happens.”