By: Hannah Shields and Kadie Gurley
Hundreds of students stood outside on the quad in 95-degree weather as the dean of the College of the Arts addressed their grievances regarding the lack of air conditioning in the Fine Arts building.
“Your words are useless if there’s no action to it!” said Randy Santiago, a fourth-year political science major and an organizer of the protest.
Students from the Fine Arts building staged a walk out Wednesday afternoon in protest to the building’s lack of air conditioning during Southern California’s record-breaking heatwave.
The Fine Arts department, most of which was constructed in the 1950s, has lacked air conditioning in different sections of the buildings for decades. Building FA3 has been reported as one of the hottest sections in the department.
Jon Weisenburg, a fifth-year ceramics major, said he and other students endure hard physical labor in their ceramic and pottery classes. The extreme heat has made the work almost unbearable, he said.
“You’ll pull 30 pounds of a block of clay and you’re on top of it and you’re wedging it like dough,” Weisenburg said.
The dean of the College of the Arts, Anne D’Zmura, and director of the school of the Arts, Laurie Gatlin, were among the faculty who showed up to the protest. Gatlin brought otter pops to pass out to the students during the protest, which she said she bought out of her own pocket.
“We are here to listen and to support and move things forward,” D’Zmura said. “I do want to reiterate that we are working on it, we have been working with the administration. It is not an unknown issue.”
Kristen Huizar, a BFA student and an organizer of the protest, described her qualms painting in unventilated classrooms.
“It’s frustrating, because you don’t spend your day in these classrooms expected to paint and breathe in fumes,” Huizar said. “Our classes are almost three hours long, and most of us take about three studios a day.”
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