The students of PHYS 1102: General Physics II have a problem. Last Tuesday, when a pipe burst in the attic of their home, Rockefeller Hall, a laboratory and a whole suite of professors’ offices were damaged, rendering them unusable and potentially costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. From the outside, their problem — cancelled sections and a damaged lab — might seem minor inconveniences. That may be because it isn’t your education that is affected by it. But you should be concerned, because the incident at Rockefeller points to a disappointing trend at Cornell.
Rockefeller Hall’s administrative manager says the damages were the result of deferred maintenance, the process by which identified issues are put off due to “timing issues or lack of funding.” Deferred maintenance is a fact of life, and is sure to affect buildings as old as Rockefeller, but the reality is that campus is not decaying equally.