Last February, beakers and flasks spilled out of shelves and tumbled off of lab benches, resulting in the cancellation of the popular “Gelb Dance.”
Vibrations caused by the loud music and students jumping around led to the destruction of glassware in the chemistry stockroom and laboratories.
The decision to cancel the dance, which has been held in Gelb Science Center since 2008, was made last spring by Jeremiah Hagler, Instructor in Biology, when he was the department head last year. The motion received unanimous support from the rest of the department.
“The dance being held here was a courtesy given by the Science Division and the school to the students for a fun place to have a dance. But the minute we started having damage to stuff in the building was the minute that the privilege was revoked,” said Hagler.
Chand Sripad, Chemistry Lab and Safety Supervisor, was the first to person witness the damage when she came into work on the Monday following the weekend dance.
“I opened up the door and in the main area of the stock room, there was glass all over the floor, close to where we stocked the glassware,” said Sripad. “I didn’t realize immediately what had happened, but then I put two and two together.”
According to Sripad, the destroyed equipment cost around $200 to replace and more than an hour of her time to clean up. This is the first time any equipment has been damaged during the annual dance.
“We can’t function as a science division effectively if we come in after something like this and have to clean up the mess. So that diminishes our ability to teach effectively. The primary function of the building is to teach science and that shouldn’t be blocked by activities that happen on the weekend,” said Hagler.
Christopher Capano, Director of Student Activities, has helped coordinate the Gelb Dance since 2011 and believes the Science Department is justified in their decision to cancel the dance.
“I don’t think it’s a matter of Dr. Hagler canceling the dance, I think the building canceled the dance in a lot of ways. I don’t think there’s a bad guy involved here,” said Capano. “It’s a nice building and we want to keep it that way, so we just kind of have to go along.”
Although the dance will not be held in Gelb this year, Capano suggested that the dance will change venues and not be cancelled altogether.
“I’ve talked to the student activities staff, the employees – about maybe doing something in [Paresky] Commons with the four dining halls and Susie’s, and maybe five different kinds of music, Or, maybe if that’s too much, using one side of Commons and doing upper right, lower right, Susie’s and having three different floors of music there,” said Capano.
_A previous version of this article stated that Christopher Capano helped coordinate the Gelb Dance since 2008 when in fact he has coordinated it since 2011. _The Phillipian_ regrets the error._