Sunday, April 27, 2008

"Fire alarm!" in a turbulent time of the year

Scheduling at the end of the Spring Semester is always a problem at American University.  Every organization wishes to celebrate some penultimate event.  Administrators want to hold meetings before faculty depart from summer commitments of travel and teaching.  The schedule is overfull every year, but this year it has been worse.  There have been a series of visits by candidates for the Provost’s position (which included a ‘visit’ by our present Interim Provost).  The task force responsible for drafting the AU’s new Strategic Plan is holding numerous meetings.  Other task forces, too, are remembering that they must get a last meeting in.  It might seem that students would be hard pressed to remember that final exams and final papers must be their first priority, but, mostly,  they do.  Everything is ‘important.’  How is one to choose?

To comlexify things further, we had our first late night fire alarm in many months last friday night.  In fact there had not been one in such a long time that I had neglected to lay my clothes out for a quick exit - a must for South Side residents.  I did have my bowl of Snickers, Butterfingers and Baby Ruths, with its blinking light, at the ready when the gongs began to ring.

This was not a false alarm - false alarms plagued us several years ago, but have subsided.  A student had left a dish burning on the stove and it set off the smoke detector.  But the weather was balmy and the sky was clear.  It was almost a party like atmosphere, though there were a few glum faces.

We were all back in bed - or off to other pursuits - by 1:30 with no one the worse for wear.


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