The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Hot hot hot

Dearest Coordinators of Classroom Temperatures at my law school,

I am writing this letter to you on behalf of all students at the law school and out of grave concern for our sanity and health. I am sure you have noticed the hoards of students running outside to gasp for air the minute classes are over. This is surely not due to the freshness of the air in our beloved District. Rather, it can more properly be attributed to the musky odor and humidity that accumulate in an enclosed, non-ventilated space with the heat on while it is fifty degrees outside. After spending an hour or two in such a space, a student would throw an old lady on the ground to get to fresh air. I assume you have also noticed the red faces and sweaty hair that seem to be adorning your students. While this seemed to be an acceptable look at Barrister's Ball, we do not feel that it is in Lerner Hall. During the week, there is no dancing or alcohol consumption during class (well, most of the time). Furthermore, I believe it is making the job of the 1L Professors difficult because the photos in their seating charts look nothing like the faces in the crowd. Additionally, the heat is wreaking havoc on our wardrobes. I have witnessed numerous nice shirts ruined by 'pit stains'. We have even had a gentleman who had to dispose of a pair of slacks because his belt melted to them. I, too, found it hard to believe, until I saw the "photographic" evidence myself. We have also had one guy have to leave the room and one girl pass out. Presumably, those two events were not related to each other, rather to the heat in the classroom.

I am not sure what measures can be taken to remedy this situation, but I do know that anything done on our part would probably not be acceptable. For instance, we could shed our clothing, as the shirts and pants seem to be making things worse. Since so many pieces of clothing seem to be falling victim to bodily secretion and melting, this option may not be too far off. However, I will personally object to this due to my view in some of the lecture halls. We could also bring small fans, but that may provide too much interruption for the professors. Not to mention, the outlets are limited. I wouldn't know what to do in the event of a fight erupting over plugging in a fan verses plugging in a laptop. Since the operable windows that were part of the building design seem to be welded shut, our only alternative there would be to break them. I'm pretty sure we learned in Torts, that would not be a good idea. Being exhausted of all options, we now turn to you, our beloved faculty, to step in. Once again, we are not sure what can be done, but we graciously hand this issue over to you.

Having designed and worked with HVAC systems in the past, I certainly understand that it is not as easy as flicking a switch to heat or cool a building. On the other hand, the excuse of a "two day lag time" is just that. Come on, already, the Pentagon can be cooled in less time. Furthermore, I also realize the buildings are old, but renovations are being done. Perhaps that priority list needs to shift away from taking over the bone lab from the biology students and toward getting some air pumped into the existing buildings. I am not sure how many students we lose each semester, but I wonder if exit interviews have been done to find if they cracked under the heat. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you (help us) have a more tolerable experience at law school.

Thanks for your help in this grave matter,