Climbing up the walls
Students should heed the University’s warnings about scaling the Rotunda scaffolding
Dumb kids, apparently thinking the University lacked for a playground, have taken to climbing the Rotunda scaffolding during late hours at night. Whether as part of the parkour fetish, or an extension to typical Lawn-streaking duties, scaling the Rotunda has become something of a dangerous habit. Now the University is shelling out more than $100,000 for additional measures to guard against such ascent. The University will continue to pay, and eventually, so will an unfortunate student, until we do the more courageous thing and acknowledge how pointlessly reckless it is to go up the side of old buildings.
The administration should not be faulted for providing too much security. Nor is the Rotunda typically guarded so heavily – Dean of Students Allen Groves said in an email last week that only one police officer was present during the summer rallies for University President Teresa Sullivan that took place in a similar area. The University has only escalated measures to keep up with our stubborn mischief.
The scaffolding was first erected for the use of construction. Then a green net was placed over it to make things harder for students who thought they were spider-men. Students were still undeterred. Next, the University placed motion-sensor lights to reveal climbing students in twilight. This technology having failed, the University resorted to old-fashioned human footpower and hired private security. Hours for this patrol were increased because students would outwait the guard. Throughout this, Sullivan and other officials have been calling for us to come down.
There are really no reasons why students should want to climb the Rotunda. On their first trespassing, they face a warning and charges from the University Judiciary Committee; on their second, arrest. As Sullivan pointed out, there are better places to climb, including the bouldering wall at the recreation center, not to mention any of the mountains encircling town. If you want a view, there are better views; if you want fun, there are better times to be had.
What grappling up the Rotunda does offer is danger. Some might say the scaffolding is stable and used daily by workers. But those construction personnel are experienced and above all working in daylight. The structure itself has less to do with safety than the nature of the people who use it. If students are misguided enough to want to climb the Rotunda, chances are they will use equally poor judgment when mounting the thing, and slip.
A student fell to his death from the Physics Building in March 2011. So the University is not just playing in loco parentis; it is legitimately concerned, there is a history here, and the length it has gone to ramp up security is not to thwart but instead to protect us. Ultimately, the only appeal for climbing the Rotunda would be thinking it’s a cool thing to do; should someone tell you as much, don’t be stupid enough to believe it.