Following the student-led walkout on Wednesday protesting the lack of AC in the Fine Arts buildings, the College of the Arts is preparing a plan to monitor the temperatures of classrooms to avoid dangerous highs.
Art professor Robin Richesson said her classroom on the third floor of FA4 has been 85 degrees and above for more than a week.
“Our buildings are aging, and we really hope the university will invest in improving the situation for our students,” Richesson said.
Gregory Woods, spokesperson for Long Beach State, said that 91% of the university’s “state academic spaces are equipped with air conditioning” but older buildings rely on fans and portable air conditioning units. Woods said professors have been asked to shift to online instruction where possible for the remainder of the heatwave.
However, Laurie Gatlin, the director of the School of the Arts, said switching to alternate modes of instruction, like online classes, is not possible without a trigger. Gatlin said administration discussed tracking temperatures in classrooms, although there is no metric for determining unsafe temperatures indoors.
“There are OSHA standards for working outside, but indoors with low circulation of air, masking, and active work were all considerations to determine a point at which we can legitimately call it uninhabitable to work in,” Gatlin said.
The administration also discussed the possibility of moving students to other classrooms or rooms in the library or other areas with reasonable temperatures.
Other departments are also struggling with heat in their buildings. The director and professor at the School of Social Work, Nancy Meyer-Adams, said the Social Sciences and Public Affairs building has AC issues of its own.
“We have the facilities person here quite often,” Meyer-Adams said.
Emily Guadarrama, a senior kinesiology fitness major, said one room in the Kinesiology Building, KIN 84, the FITLAB, is extremely hot. Guadarrama said the room, which is regularly full of exercising students, only has five fans to serve as relief.
“It sucks because the kinesiology building is very old. We probably have one of the most rundown buildings on campus,” Guadarrama said.
Tyler Muñoz, a junior animation major, said moving class online due to extreme heat would not benefit many students in dorms, where there is also no AC.
“I appreciate the notion of letting those who commute stay home, where it’s possibly cooler, but it really shines a light on how little the school does to address heatwaves and climate change as a whole,” Muñoz said.
Muñoz also said he doesn’t feel as though the tuition he pays is being used wisely.
“We pay our tuition with the expectation that the money will come back to us in the form of living spaces, classrooms and professors and it really doesn’t feel like it is,” Muñoz said.