By: Brahmjot Kaur
Photo: Brahmjot Kaur
On Thursday, September 27, 2018, a portion of the ceiling in Shepard 274 collapsed and debris spilled throughout the classroom. None of the students who normally attend class in that room around that time were present when the incident occurred, though it is unknown if someone was there and perhaps left.
However, if there was a class present, that chunk of the ceiling would have most likely fallen on a student due to the location of the broken piece on the floor.
The broken ceiling made the room inaccessible for the Intro to Journalism during their normal class time. They were forced to relocate for their Thursday session. Due to the nice weather, the class chose to continue their class outside next to the Wille Administration building.
What was the cause of this occurrence? It is no secret that buckets are scattered throughout nearly all of City College’s buildings when it rains due to leaky ceilings.
The part of the ceiling in Shepard 274 already had a large hole, but due to the leaks in that area of the classroom, it is reasonable to believe that the leaks were the culprit. With numerous days of rain recently, the ceiling was soggy and unable to maintain its integrity. Two to three buckets were always placed around the vicinity of the incident when it rained.
In a 2016 New York Times article, Dreams Stall as CUNY, New York City’s Engine of Mobility, Sputters, David W. Chen revealed to the general public just how bad the infrastructure of this college is. Chen explained that while City College’s infrastructure is falling apart, students are still paying more. “In the last five years, tuition at its four-year colleges has risen by $300 per year,” wrote Chen.
The underfunding of CUNY by the New York State government has had a significant impact on the students who attend these schools, both financially and educationally. From broken escalators to leaky ceilings, most of City College’s faculty and students are desensitized to the infrastructural issues the school faces. In fact, it has become an ongoing joke among many who are familiar with City College.
Professor Loew, who teaches the displaced class, told The Campus “We were dismayed, but were able to make it fun because it was a beautiful day, so we had class outside. I hope we’ll be able to keep our spirits up throughout the semester. Longer-term, I worry about the message this sends to students: You are undeserving, you don’t matter. Obviously this is not a healthy or helpful message.”
She then went on to explain her concern for students. “Also, I fear for the safety of my students and myself. Not only could we be hit on the head by the ceiling falling, we are vulnerable to water, cold, mold, and who knows what. I hate to think of a student’s health being negatively affected by this situation,” Loew added.
As an educator, Loew also commented that “It is disheartening, but even more disheartening to know that students, teachers, and staff have been living with these conditions for so long. This is only my second semester at CUNY. You have to struggle against feeling hopeless, especially knowing that appropriate financial support is in short supply for public education, at every level, almost everywhere in America.”