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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Ziv sprinkler concerns go unanswered

Published: November 30, 2007
Section: News

A Union senator’s concerns regarding sprinkler sensitivity have gone unanswered by the administration, sources say.

“The concern about the sprinklers is that they are too sensitive to touch,” said Ziv Quad senator Justin Sulsky ’09.

Sulsky said he became involved after his suite was flooded at the beginning of the semester when a student accidentally hit a sprinkler. “The reason why the whole suite was ruined was because there was no way to turn off the water once the sprinkler began to turn on,” he said. “As it was explained by the facilities people, there is no way to turn off the water.”

Similar incidents have occurred in the past. Last spring, three suites in Ziv were flooded when a student hit a sprinkler with some luggage. In 2005, an entire hallway in East Quad was drenched after a sprinkler was hit by a football.

Sulsky said the flooding “occurred during my campaign for Ziv Quad senator, so I knew it would be one of my priorities. The first semester my priority has been the construction…now I’m focusing on my other goals, such as mitigating the problems of the sprinklers.”

Another issue for students is liability for the flooding damage, he stated. When “dirty water was flooding [the suite] for 30 minutes,” said Sulsky, the university found the student liable for the incident and did not reimburse him. “I don’t think it was his fault,” said Sulsky. “[The sprinklers] aren’t meant to go off when they are touched by an object… to say that happened naturally is really ludicrous.”

However, Sulsky added, Vice President of Campus Operations Mark Collins and Facilities Director Peter Baker had not responded to several e-mail messages regarding the sprinkler system. Neither Collins nor Baker could be reached by The Hoot before publication.

Student response was positive regarding Sulsky’s efforts. “We had a traumatic experience in East two years ago, so making them less sensitive to going off is a good idea, so long as it doesn’t compromise the fire safety,” said Ziv resident and part-time firefighter Raffi Marcus ‘08. “If [Sulsky is] sticking himself out there, if he’s trying to get something changed, the administration should get back to him. The student government is inefficient enough, so he should get a response from the administration.”

Some students were unaware of the issue. “I didn’t even know the sprinklers were sensitive in Ziv,” said Laura Wolf ‘08.

“Honestly, I’m not a sprinkler expert; I’m just asking the university to look at this issue,” added Sulsky, suggesting perhaps moving the sprinklers or adding cages around them. “I realize that resources are scant but the amount of property that could be destroyed shows that the administration should be looking at the problem.”