Campus news in brief

Members of Carnegie Mellon community gather at The Fence to reflect on broader issues

At noon on Friday, Oct. 14, following a mass email invitation from President Subra Suresh, nearly 200 Carnegie Mellon students and faculty members gathered at The Fence to reflect on and discuss issues facing society today, as well as to connect as a community. Suresh described hearing from "faculty, students and staff who want to engage deeply and directly with issues roiling our society," citing examples such as racism, sexual violence, xenophobia, inequality, hate crimes, and offensive political discourse.

Suresh highlighted racism as "among the most painful and intractable challenges to our society," and brought up past events on campus that dealt with race issues. He emphasized his support for the continuation of such dialogue, but added that "it’s also important that we find less structured opportunities to come together as a community," referring to the gathering at The Fence.

At the gathering, students were given plaid lapel ribbons on cards printed with the lyrics of John Lennon's "Imagine," and were invited to sing along with senior musical theater major Arica Jackson and School of Drama Professor Gary Kline. A performance by a brass quintet from the School of Music followed.

Gabby Perez-Lozano, a first-year student from Texas, was encouraged to attend by her sister, in order to get in touch with more people in the community. “Even if you don’t know the people that these issues affect, they do affect people around you. And being in touch with them is really important,” she said.

Carnegie Mellon performs water quality testing in campus buildings

The Environmental Health and Safety Department of Carnegie Mellon University is testing drinking water in all campus buildings built before 1986 for elevated levels of lead. This follows recent tests by the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority that found heightened lead levels in 17 of 100 randomly selected residential properties in Pittsburgh.

Before being prohibited in 1986, lead pipes and solder were widely used in plumbing fixtures. Water samples have been collected from at least 150 individual fountains around campus and were sent to an accredited laboratory for testing.

According to Madelyn Miller, director of Environmental Health and Safety, no lead has been found in samples taken from the Cyert Center for Early Education in Morewood Gardens and the Children’s School in Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall, and there have been no indications of lead in the water at Carnegie Mellon so far.

Results for samples taken from administrative and academic buildings are expected by the end of October, while testing in university-owned residence halls will begin early November, with advance notice to residents.