Gelb Dance No More: Damaged Equipment Results in Cancellation

Last February, beakers and flasks spilled out of shelves and tumbled off lab benches, resulting in the cancellation of the popular Gelb Dance this year.

The vibrations from loud music, as well as the stomping and dancing of students, broke chemistry glassware in the labs.

Last spring, Jeremiah Hagler, Instructor and Chair in Biology at the time, made the decision to cancel the dance, which has been held in the Gelb Science Center since 2008. His decision received unanimous support from the rest of the department.

“The dance being held [in Gelb] was a courtesy given by the Science [Department] 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to have a dance, but the minute we started having damage to stuff in the building was the minute that the privilege was revoked,” said Hagler.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 witness the damage when she came into work on the Monday following last year’s 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 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 [Department] 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,” Hagler said.

Christopher Capano, Director of Student Activities, has helped coordinate the Gelb Dance since 2008 and believes the Science Department is justified in their decision to cancel the dance.

“I don’t think it’s a matter of [Hagler] cancelling the dance. I think the building cancelled 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.”

Although the dance will not be held in Gelb this year, Capano suggested that the dance change venues instead of being 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 Paresky and doing Upper Right, Lower Right, Susie’s and having three different floors of music there,” said Capano.