Administration is being open to students

First, I would like to thank The Simpsonian for its informative and even-handed news story regarding the odor that has caused problems off and on the past few weeks in parts of McNeill Hall.

But, I also believe it’s necessary to correct some of the misconceptions present in your editorial on the same subject. The editorial seems to suggest that the administration is trying to hide something, and I can assure you that is simply not the case.

The odor problem has indeed been frustrating for all of us. We believe it dates back to the building of McNeill Hall and an underground pipe that is no longer in use.

This pipe has been capped, but the odor has found several escape points, such as a broken seal in a bathroom fixture.

When we find these escape points, we make the necessary repairs. But that’s not to say that the problem might not resurface; it could. If it does, we will move quickly to address it.

What about a permanent solution? We are investigating that as well, but it may require a major construction project.

We are considering beginning that work during spring break or over the summer when the building isn’t being used for classes and faculty offices.

Everyone’s first concern is the health and welfare of students, faculty and staff, and I have never been told not to do something because of the cost. We have hired outside experts, such as plumbers and air-quality experts, to help us with the problem, and we will continue to do so as necessary.

To that end, we hired a company that conducted air-quality tests. They have assured us that no toxic gases are present.

That is not to say that the odor can’t cause reactions in people; everyone responds differently.

It is, without a doubt, an obnoxious smell. I don’t like it, either. But, everyone we have talked with has stressed that the building remains safe to use, even if it is unpleasant.

I know first-hand how committed the administration is to keeping the campus informed about this because they have been relying on the information I have provided to them. You know what I know.

We have provided updates whenever the situation has changed, and we will continue to do so.

While it may seem that most of the information we give you is repetitive, that is the nature of the problem. Every time this occurs, we repeat our process for pinpointing the problem and fixing it.

I appreciate everybody’s feelings, and I wish there had been an easy, quick way to fix this, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

I just want to assure you that my crew and the administrators are doing everything we can to solve it. It’s our top priority.