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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Fires spur ban on dorm flyers

Published: April 28, 2006
Section: News

A series of flyer burnings in Rosenthal quad this month has prompted Dean of Student Life Rick Sawyer to temporarily prohibit papers from being posted in public areas of residence halls.

The first incident occurred on Apr. 7, according to Director of Public Safety Ed Callahan. A fire alarm went off in Rosenthal South. [Rosenthal Quad Director] Rusmir Music noticed several posters in the building that were burned.

Music then contacted Callahan and sent an email to his residents. Callahan said a second, similar incident occurred on Apr. 12 at 3:55 am.

Dean of Student Life [Sawyer] was then contacted, and Sawyer conversed with me about the fire safety concerns, said Callahan.

Sawyer sent out an email to the student body on Apr. 12 which mentioned the fires and stated the temporary flyer restrictions.

There have been no incidents since the second burning on Apr. 12.

In the Apr. 12 email to students, Sawyer called the incidents dangerous and disrespectful and wrote that the actions compromise the safety of the community.

The posting ban, as written by Sawyer, prohibits flyers, posters or paper notices from being posted in or on doors, doorways, halls, and bulletin boards in residence halls. This prohibition will continue for the remainder of the academic year, he wrote.

Sawyer feels that the prohibition is a necessary measure in order to ensure that the student body stays safe. A dormitory fire is one of the worst things that can happen on a college campus, he said. It endangers the lives of hundreds of students. When something like this happens, we look at anything to do to ensure the safety of our students.

When asked if there were prior incidents involving fire in residence halls, Callahan referenced several in 2004, when flyers, posters, a sneaker, and other objects were burned in North residence quad.

Sawyer implemented a flyer ban in response to those fires. He claimed that 2004 was the first time such an interim policy was used. Sawyer told The Hoot that no further measures would be taken at this time. If nothing else happens, well all be happy and we wont have to do anything else, he said.

Rosenthal Quad Director Rusmir Music said he would continue to educate his residents about fire safety as a response to the fires. We place fire safety on a very high level, and Im here to protect the safety of my residents, said Music.

Its a life safety concern whenever anyone sets anything on fire, said Callahan. Obviously, we need to reinforce fire safety.