By Joseph Barrios
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Fixing the roof at the College of Law building has turned out be more of a headache than originally thought.
Law students are upset because the fumes coming from the hot asphalt workers are using to fix the roof on the building, at East Speedway Boulevard and North Mountain Avenue, are making students sick with headaches, nausea and dizziness.
Micha Danzig, a second-year law student, is one of about five students who organized a petition to present to University of Arizona College of Law administration protesting the fumes. The petition will be presented today with at least 150 signatures from law students he said.
But Steve Holland, Risk Management director, said fresh air intakes which pump air from the outside into the Law building have been closed since word of student concerns started.
Holland said the move will prevent the fumes from entering the building. But then all the air in the building has to be recirculated, which can cause the rooms to become stuffy.
"Being around the fumes can be irritating to skin, eyes, and your respiratory track," Holland said, adding that anyone exposed to the fumes may be more sensitive if they have pre-existing conditions.
Henrietta Stover, Law school financial services manager, said workers are rebuilding the roof because of leakage problems.
Stover said when it rains, water collects on the roof and has leaked to cause damage to computer labs in the building. The new roof will help channel water off the roof and prevent future damage from being done _ a project the college has waited about five years to fund, she said.
Danzig said between 9 a.m. and noon the smoke collects and swirls in the walkway going into the building and causes students to gag and cough. He said people are being told to cover their noses and breathe through their mouths to avoid smelling the fumes.
"Then you can actually taste it," he said.
"No student is saying we don't want the roofing done," Danzig said. "We have to be able to concentrate while we're in class."
Danzig said most students he has talked to agree that the fumes are strong enough to distract students while in class. Further distractions occur when students start coughing and must leave the room.
Holland said the fumes can cause headaches, dizziness and nausea without causing permanent damage.
Stover said the law school has looked into re-negotiating the contract, organizing new work schedules, moving class locations and setting up fans to try and circulate the air better, but none of the ideas have been decided on yet.
Hopefully, she said, the fumes will stop within two weeks.
Stover also said the location of the hot asphalt pot, between the College of Law and McClelland Hall, will be moved closer to East Speedway Boulevard after today, where the fumes will be farther away from the building.
Mike Mincinger, superintendent of University Shops, said the work is being done by Universal Roofers, a local roofing business. Mincinger said the workers are actually ahead of schedule and should be done using the hot asphalt within two weeks_before finals.
Still, students say they are tired of the headaches.
"It's bad enough that there's no question it interferes with classroom concentration," said Mark Harmin, third year law student.
Hilary Peterson, a second-year law student, said she passed out one day in class and has been throwing up as a result of the fumes.
"One day it will be fine, they next day it will be awful," Peterson said.
Workers said the fumes do not bother them.
Mike Scuttle, foreman of the project, said the fumes are non-toxic and that all the workers are used to them.
"It doesn't bother us at all," Scuttle said. "In fact, I like the smell of it." Read Next Article