Wartenweiler library weather woes

OVER the years, Wartenweiler Library on Wits’ East Campus has continually been a concern for students hoping to get some studying done. On a warm day, the four-level building is just too hot.

Students have sent complaints to the Wits Vuvuzela about this and are struggling to study because they feel that the air conditioning in the library is insufficient.

“It’s really great when it’s cold, likes now, but otherwise it’s too hot to even think,” said Nicole Stern, 1st year BA student.

“You find yourself falling asleep because this heat makes you drowsy and the heat just makes you want to fall asleep and its really annoying, it would be fantastic if they could actually turn the air con on,” said Katherine Stewart, 1st year BA student.

Stewart is a first year and came to Wartenweiler library in the first week of school about three weeks ago and said it’s been like this since the first day.

Not all students find the building uncomfortable, “It doesn’t really affect me at all, I don’t get cold and I don’t get hot, I feel like it keeps me pretty alright,” said Crystal Poulter, 2nd year BSc. “There isn’t enough circulation so at times I get sleepy,” she added.

Poulter said it just needs more movement of air because right now its stagnant but she does not necessarily have a problem with the room temperature.
First-year BSc student, Lebogang Dladla, noticed the issue at other Wits venues. “We have this issue in classes as well, even at education campus.”

Heated Up: Wits students are struggling to be productive in the Wartenweiler library on East Campus.     Photo: Tendai Dube

Heated Up: Wits students are struggling to be productive in the Wartenweiler library on East Campus. Photo: Tendai Dube

Dladla added that her studies are affected because she has to now add additional pressure on herself to concentrate harder because of the heat. She thinks that a temperature system that can be regulated would be the best solution.

Another first-year student studying a BA at Wits, Selelo Maake, doesn’t see an issue. “It seems quite alright to me and I’ve been here a couple of times and it’s quite comfortable for me. I’m all dandy,” he added.

Wits Vuvuzela spoke to Karasen Gangan, technical inspector at the Property and Infrastructure Management Division (PIMD), to ask him about the ventilation issues.

He was surprised we were receiving complaints since the air conditioning was repaired last Wednesday. Contractors had come in to fix the cooling tower control panel, which was not working.

When Wits Vuvuzela went into the library on Tuesday this week, the air was still stuffy. Some staff in the library were using personal fans.

On the first three floors of the library building, which are the busiest ones, the air conditioning does not appear to be working, however on the fourth floor, which is set up as an office space for Wartenweiler library management, the situation seems to be much better.

Gangan responded to that by saying that the fourth floor works on the same system but parts of it work on its own, and that it too has to be repaired frequently.

He and some staff in the library attribute the faulty air conditioning system to the age of the building which is now over 70 years old. When asked if the system can be replaced, Gangan said, “We can look into that, but that’s a costly exercise.”

“At the moment it’s serviced and maintained for the regular items but if there’s anything major that fails, then we’ll obviously look into replacement,” he added

According to the inspector and contractor, the issue “this time was the v-belt, which is very much similar to a fan belt” had snapped and would be repaired by Wednesday morning.

Israel independence celebrated while Palestinian supporters protest

Camels, jumping castles and free falafels were all part of the unusual 66th Israel Independence Day celebrations at Wits yesterday.

But while some Witsies crossed the library lawns on the back of a camel, the Wits Palestinian Solidarity Committee (PSC) held a film screening to protest the celebrations.

The film based on the life of “terrorist” fighter Leila Khaled was used as a means of showing the desperation of the Palestinian people who are fighting for their independence.

While the film was being screened, some members of the Wits PSC protested on the library lawns alongside the South African Union of Jewish Students (SAUJUS) who celebrated Israel’s independence.

Several protesters said Israel had blood on its hands because the state was created “through the blood of Palestinians.”

Members of the Wits PSC insisted that while the film focused on violent means of protest, the PSC itself believed in a non-violent approach to the dispute between the two nations. Aaliyah Mohammed, a member of the PSC, says the committee fights by calling for sanctions and boycotts on Israeli academic, cultural and sport activities.

Another committee member, Muhammed Ismail Bulbulia added: “Until the very end, I would fight for what I believe in provided I’m justified in fighting for it.”

Both the protest and the celebrations were conducted next to each other but no incidents were reported.