Speaking Out

Obscene Levels of Noise

This letter should be considered a formal complaint concerning the ongoing jackhammer work at Sansom Place East (in which I live during this, my first graduate year).

Basically, the horrible noise has made my living experience here an extremely unpleasant one. Not only does it prevent me from getting any studying done in the "comfort" of my own home during the day, but I routinely am woken up early in the morning on weekends, robbing me of any chance at a decent sleeping pattern. In fact, noises on Saturdays have often occurred prior to 9 a.m. (including hammering and the workers' radios), and this is a violation of the building's own "quiet hours" policy, posted by the elevator on my floor.

As a graduate resident, I'm thoroughly angry at Penn's nerve in charging a premium price for living in a graduate apartment in which I can't even study during the day because of obscene levels of noise. My central reason for choosing the Graduate Towers to live in as opposed to off-campus housing was the expected convenience of being able to return to my room to study between classes during the day. Penn has effectively robbed me of this convenience.

I can't even retreat to the study lounge on the ground floor, because there too the noise is a complete disruption. This place sounds like a war zone. I was in no way warned about these construction issues before arriving at Sansom Place this year and committing to live here, and I don't feel that this is indicative of fair treatment. I feel that I can be forgiven for inferring the "no jackhammering outside your window early in the morning" line in the housing contract.

If Penn isn't capable of constantly maintaining its facilities, we as paying students should not have to suffer without real apology when the University does suddenly decide to do something.

--Sara Kutney, Biomedical Graduate Student

Compliance and Communication

We deeply regret that you and other residents of Sansom Place East and West have been adversely affected by the repair work underway on the buildings' facades. This work is by no means a cosmetic fix. Structural engineers identified a potentially dangerous condition in their study of Sansom Place and recommended that we initiate a repair program. From the beginning, we planned to have the work begin mid-May and end soon after summer, in consideration of our fall residents. Unfortunately due to inclement weather conditions, the date of completion was held up and is now November 10, 2000, weather permitting. It is true that this work, while absolutely necessary for the ongoing safety of residents, has caused undue strain on everyone. For that reason, we are making every effort to mitigate its ill effects until the repairs are completed.

We have directed the contractors to strictly confine their scaffolding work to the 9 a.m.-5 p.m. timeframe except in places devoid of windows, throughout the week. There have been breaches in this agreement and we, too, find this unacceptable and will continue to insist upon strict compliance during the remaining weeks. Last May, residents received advance notice about this project, and have worked closely with Director Michelle Ray to deal with the inconvenience. But we do need to establish better lines of communication between our staff and first-year residents.

In no way can we replace the "quiet time" that has been lost, but we promise that in a few short weeks, Sansom Place will return to the quiet, close-knit and comfortable community it has been for many years. We ask you to remember some of the other benefits that brought you to Penn's graduate residences in the first place, and ask for your continued patience.

--Douglas R. Berger, Director, Dept. of Housing and Conference Services

Speaking Out welcomes reader contributions. Short, timely letters on University issues can be accepted, by Thusday at noon for the following Tuesday's issue, subject to right-of-reply guidelines. Advance notice of intention to submit is appreciated. --Eds.

Almanac, Vol. 47, No. 10, October 31, 2000

| FRONT PAGE | CONTENTS | JOB-OPS | CRIMESTATS | OF RECORD: Alcohol Policy Changes , Emergency Closings & Guidelines on Cooperative Exchanges of Certain University Information | FOR COMMENT: FERPA Changes | PENNs WAY 2001 | TALK ABOUT TEACHING ARCHIVE | BETWEEN ISSUES | NOVEMBER at PENN |