Faculty, fed up with constant malfunctions, give up on maintenance.
By Regis L. Roberts
Professors working on the upper floors of Moody Learning Center are becoming used to the escalators not working.
Psychology Professor Bill Rose, whose office in on the sixth floor of Moody, almost gave up on informing maintenance about the problems of the escalator from floors six to seven because his complaints were “falling on deaf ears.”
When he calls maintenance saying the escalator is not running, he said the response he usually hears is, “Oh, it’s not?”
He decided to call maintenance Jan. 18 after seeing students, especially handicapped students, walking up a broken escalator.
Facilities Superintendent David Ortega said that the first call he personally fielded about broken escalators this semester was Tuesday, and that the other calls were probably to the maintenance hotline.
Hotline calls are reported and given to a technician to go to the area of the complaint to see if the problem can be fixed, Ortega said.
He said facilities has come across safety switches tripping as a result of mechanical failures, such as motor and gear malfunctions.
There are 40 separate safety switches in the escalators that could shut them down if a malfunction occurs, he said.
Because they run 24 hours a day, the chance that a part will malfunction, setting off a safety switch, is high, Ortega said.
Facilities is waiting for a report from the escalator vendor EMR that will pinpoint where the problem lies.
The escalators are as old as Moody, built in 1968, and old machines bring wear and tear.
Rose said he has smelled something similar to burning rubber coming from the escalators.
Ortega said that smell is likely the hand rail going around and binding, and is not likely contributing to mechanical failure.
A false fire alarm Sept. 4 caused problems, Rose said, especially with the escalators from the sixth to fifth floor not in operation.
He said he almost did not make it out because of back problems.
Because elevators are not operational during fire alarms, the options for disabled students and faculty are limited if the escalators are malfunctioning, Rose said.
He said he often sees students who are disabled trying to walk up escalators that are not running.