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Thursday, February 10, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 92

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Staff Editorial
 


EDITORIAL BOARD

John Harp                                 Ed De La Garza 
Jason Caesar Consolacion     Jim Parsons 


It happens

"Crap." What else can you say when raw sewage leaks into a building, especially when cleanup takes more than a day and carpets that have been contaminated aren't going to be replaced?

It happened here Monday in Science and Research II, and cleanup lasted through Tuesday. We're not talking about your everyday toilet backup, either. When the volume of sewage pouring onto the floor looks to witnesses like "lava flowing," as it did according to some staff members who were present Monday, you've got a serious health problem.

Not so, administration officials said, even though the sewage crawled its way through offices and even into the library. UH isn't even going to replace carpets that were covered with the stuff -- but were later cleaned, they assure us.

A wash won't cut it. Industrial wet-dry vacuum treatment may not even do the trick. We wouldn't be surprised if the smell, not to mention the bacteria, sticks around for several weeks. And this is safe?

Now, it isn't as if UH students haven't ever dealt with the unmistakable odor of raw sewage before. Those of us who walk around the Quadrangle have encountered it frequently enough that it's become a familiar, almost comforting aroma. Almost.

Even the Moores School of Music, engineering marvel that it is, has been plagued once or twice by the stench of a sewage backup. But let's cut the crap. Now.

We want to applaud the cleanup crews that worked so quickly to stop the pipe leak and minimize the damage to SNR II. It happens, and you're all troopers for dealing with it.

On the other hand, let us not leave behind the fact, already mentioned, that administration has no plans to replace carpeting in the building. We know carpet isn't as cheap as liquid soap, but is it too much to ask to keep up the appearance of cleanliness in our classrooms?

No, new carpets aren't going to automatically help us achieve Tier I research status, but is our case for that kind of prestige going to be helped if one of our research buildings pongs like a cow pasture?

Beyond that is the real safety issue. Sure, it's not like we walk on our hands or are likely to lick the floor, but what if someone drops a pen, and has to pick it up, doesn't wash his hands and eats, and then comes down with, say, cholera? Even if the floor wasn't really the cause, it's not going to look good for us.

All things considered, students and faculty have to live with a lot of inconveniences on this campus. We don't think sewage-contaminated carpet should have to be one of them.
 

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