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After Disaster!

Seniors might remember the Ocean, a giant parking lot that used to exist where the West-Edens Link now stands. The ocean made a triumphant return to campus Sunday night, when the new dormitory flooded, turning numerous students into refugees.

In the two weeks since the WEL opened, it has seen some growing pains. Less than a week after opening, Rick's Diner, the WEL's 24-hour eatery, had to close because of supply concerns, and the accidental activation Sunday of a fire sprinkler began flooding on many floors of Buildings A and B of the WEL.

During the flood, administrators waited for over an hour to tell students what was going on or what the procedure would be for cleaning and restoring peace to the WEL. Unfortunately, Duke's response team also waited for over an hour to stop the sprinklers, although it was almost instantaneously apparent that there was no fire at all. Duke's inaction converted a small isolated incident into a quad-wide disaster.

The flooding temporarily displaced 30 or 35 students, but caused property damage that affected many more. Although the University has said homeowner's insurance should take care of the damage, it has the obligation to ensure that students are compensated for the damage caused by a faulty system and the delinquent response team.

Furthermore, this is especially important in light of the fact that many residents whose property was destroyed this year are the same students who suffered the same fate last year in Randolph Dormitory on East Campus. Not only did administrators refuse to offer any financial assistance to students affected by that incident, the bursar's office allegedly charged them for property damage. Hopefully, in the wake of last year's incident, the University will be much more accommodating to students injured this year by University negligence.

The flood notwithstanding, the WEL has been a very important addition to West Campus. Rick's Diner and the Blue Devil Beanery, despite their initial difficulties-supply and refrigeration concerns for the former and a lack of furniture for the latter-opened on time, a rare occurrence for a new dining venue on campus. Additionally, although the landscaping is not yet complete, the WEL was completed on time for students to move in, a testament to the hard work and meticulous planning of Judith White's Residential Program Review.

The WEL, a good location to hold on-campus parties, is an integral part of the administration's residential plan. Hopefully, it will foster community and provide more options for students in the future.


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