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Constructive criticism on proper planning

Lack of foresight is enough to disrupt normal operations

Published: Thursday, February 13, 2014

Updated: Thursday, February 13, 2014 21:02


Art by Amber Sliter, The Spectrum

University inattention echoed loudly through frigid offices left without heat and above classrooms disrupted by construction.

A well-intentioned effort to replace the aging heating system in Millard Fillmore Academic Center, of Ellicott Complex, is revealing the importance of careful consideration.

The construction has caused several professors’ offices to be left without central heat; they have been kept warm by space heaters. The sounds of the construction were intolerably loud, interrupting classes and, for a time, making lecture nearly impossible.

Maintenance must be performed on the spaces in which education takes place, and bravo to the university for ensuring these projects are taken on.

Why the expectedly disruptive construction ran into the beginning of classes is baffling, especially when the winter recess preceding this semester was among the longest UB has ever had.

Undoubtedly good intentions underlined the initial decision. Sheer incompetence seems to be the undoing of this project, the latest in a long, not-so-proud tradition.

Though claims of outright negligence may be attractive at first blush, the truth likely lies in something far less heinous. There seems to be no evidence of foul play or overtly poor treatment.

The issue seems simple, presumably because it is.

But the spillover from such an otherwise small oversight has led to real – and unacceptable – consequences.

Students do not begin a semester and sign up for a course expecting one of the first sessions to be cut short by jackhammering that could have been done earlier. Students do not pay for course sessions that become impossible in which to engage.

Professors likely found it a bit perplexing, if not off-putting, to return to offices without heat after weeks of winter break.

That this is even an issue begs questioning why such a simple task could not have been performed properly. That the university has had so many maintenance issues in Ellicott Complex in so short a time is troublesome.

Construction should never inhibit classes themselves – this is university management 101.

The whole issue brings to mind a Pride and Prejudice quote: “But without scheming to do wrong, or to make others unhappy, there may be error, and there may be misery. Thoughtlessness … will do the business.”

Scheming or not, incompetence is enough to call for better management of UB’s affairs. Inability or unwillingness to properly consider the effects the project might have on others is enough to call for better practices when it comes to matters such as this.

Though lack of malice precludes stronger critical discourses, presence of good intentions does not preclude any criticism at all.

To put it simply, think before you act, and such otherwise avoidable mishaps won’t be nearly as frequent.



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