On Thursday morning, I woke up to find yet another piece of paper stuffed under my door. Another Yummy Garden menu, I thought, as I reached down to turn over the sheet. Yet to my surprise, it was a warning to remove all “popular student floor lamps” with the “potential for fire” out of our dorms by semester break, or we would be fined.

After some research, I discovered that this announcement was due to an issue discussed in the Campus Fire Safety Bulletin, issued by the N.Y.S. Office of Fire Prevention and Control. In the bulletin, it states that “a New York campus” had two “close calls” with the floor lamps in question in which the “heat from the bulbs caused the shade to melt.”

What I find interesting is that these incidents were not specifically said to have even occurred on our campus.

Later in the announcement, it is mentioned that due to a “concentrated search on this campus,” five “additional” lights were found. First of all, when was this search performed, and what were the criteria for the investigators to go into students’ rooms? Were there just suspicions, or was there fact? The bulletin was simply attempting to give more credibility to itself by citing more incidents of these “close calls” and thus having a better basis for taking these lights away from students.

One aspect of this aberration that concerns me is the fact that in the notice sent out to all students, it states, “These lamps have been banned from residence halls this year because of the potential for fire.”

Do they mean that this year, the lamps suddenly became a fire hazard? Were the lamps with movable heads not dangerous in earlier years, and is it such that now they have the potential to start fires?

It is an electrical fact that all lamps have the potential to create fires, as well as any other device that is plugged into a wall. My computer battery, for instance, on my Dell Latitude laptop was one of the ones that was recalled a while back due to its potential to start fires. Is the author trying to insinuate that the lamp companies have recently been making faulty products, and if so, then wouldn’t there have been a recall?

If one were to say that there was a legitimate point to this announcement, the first question that would come to my mind would be this: if we are not allowed to have these types of lamps, then what types of lamps are allowed?

It is a well-known fact that the lighting in campus dorm rooms is extremely insufficient. These lamps that students purchase are easy to use because they have more than one setting and they also can be angled downward for studying at a desk. They are the most affordable lamps, and if they are banned, the only other choices right now seem to be the fancy, expensive lamps that are impractical for student use.

Ultimately, the question now is should the “popular student floor lamps” be banned due to a limited number of incidents, and if so, then what will be allowed? Or will students remain in charge of their lighting choices? Let’s hope someone gets a bright idea.

Halusic is a member of the class of 2010.

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