Campus drill proves an unwelcome interruption for students

Several students who were evacuated complained the evacuation across the SJSU campus Monday morning was a nuisance.

“It’s annoying,” said Michelle Azizi, junior justice studies major. “Being in the middle of a deep discussion and finally getting into the class and then being interrupted and having to leave sucks.”

The drill, which happens once a semester, is designed to make sure students are aware when a real emergency happens, according to Lt. Frank Belcastro of UPD.

“We’re required [to do the drills] by the Chancellor’s office and the education code,” Belcastro said. “It reduces panic and reduces injury, which helps keep the campus safe.”

Azizi said the surprise event was just a bleak part of her day.

“It’s not middle school anymore,” she said. “The fire drill is not exciting. It’s not something we look forward to.”

Gneyb Sanchez, senior social work major, said she found the timing to be a hassle, especially as people have to go outside into rainy weather.

“I don’t think they should have fire drills when they interrupt classes, especially when it is freezing cold outside,” Sanchez said.

Dorothy Poole, assistant vice president of administration and finance, was a backup building coordinator for Clark Hall. During the evacuation she said everything was going well.

“It’s just a practice drill in case of an emergency,” Poole said.

Darren Ng, senior electrical engineering major, found the drill bothersome but agreed it was a helpful practice.

“There’s two perspectives to this,” he said. “If I were studying I’d see it as a waste of time but if there were a real fire I’d be screwed.”

Senior photography major Alessandra Imazio said she was happy that she was on campus in class and not asleep.

“This would be the right time to have the drill because this is when the most students are on campus,” she said.

Kathy Chu, sophomore animation/illustration major, said she was evacuated from her dorm in Joe West Hall.

“Joe West has fires all the time,” Chu said. “So now that they’re having another fire drill it’s like ‘Oh great, I can’t get up to my room.’”

The drill came when the weather broke, which eased Chu’s frustration.

“It’s not really raining right now,” she said. “If it was in really heavy rain, I’d be really upset.”

Members of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority had a treat sale on the sidewalk between the front of Clark Hall and the Tommie Smith and John Carlos Statue.

As people left their buildings to their outdoor evacuation area, they flocked to the canopy-covered table and overwhelmed the fundraiser, which was one of few sheltered areas in the rain.

“We didn’t even know about it,” said sophomore psychology major Marina Troian, who worked the treat sale. “We’re kind of stoked.”

The campus evacuation included the Child Development Lab Preschool in the Central Classroom building. Their children joined the students around the Smith-Carlos Statue.

Preschool lab instructor Joy Foster admitted forgetting about the drill at the last moment.

“I usually put up signs and we come out early,” Foster said. “Everyone did so well.”

Several of the preschoolers said they wanted to run and play, but knew to walk and stay calm.

The event went well with just a single hitch, Belcastro said.

“We had a complaint from a building coordinator,” he said. “One building had a faculty member who didn’t want to cooperate.”

Belcastro said students and faculty members that do not cooperate are reported to Student Affairs and Faculty Affairs, respectively.