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Dean of Students Clarifies Union Incident, Starts Vaccine Mandate Discussion

Photo of the Wright State University North Lawn, facing Hamilton Hall

North Lawn at University Plaza | Photo by Soham Parikh | The Wright State Guardian

Wright State University (WSU) Dean Chris Taylor gave an update on the Student Union closure incident and discussed the possibility of a vaccine mandate at the latest Student Government Association (SGA) meeting. 

The Student Union 

The Student Union is currently closed due to an electrical fire that occurred late Monday night into Tuesday morning. 

According to Dean of Students Chris Taylor, during the early morning on Tuesday, August 24, a power surge in the Student Union caused an electrical fire, which was contained to the electrical room in the Union. 

The fire then activated the sprinklers in the electrical room only. According to Taylor, there was at one point four inches of water in the electrical room, which made it difficult for crews to move forward. 

Power to campus was shut down for a brief period and eventually restored to most areas. Power has been partially restored to parts of the Student Union, according to Taylor. 

“One of the other things that occurred, if you know anything about electrical fires, they produce a kind of smoke and soot that is very oily,” Taylor said. “The place is by no means inundated, but some things do have a little bit of a film on it, so we are going to have to clean those. 

In addition to the oily film, a smell still remains in the air from the smoke throughout parts of the building. Wright State hired an outside company that is working on restoring the building for it to reopen. 

More information on when the Student Union will reopen will be available on Wednesday, Aug. 25, according to Taylor. 

Hamilton Hall and other buildings

The power outage is still affecting the Joshi Research Center and the Student Success Center. Hamilton Hall currently does not have air conditioning because of the power outage. 

The university is working on repairing the air conditioning in Hamilton Hall with the hopes of it being fixed by Wednesday, according to Taylor. 

Students residing in Hamilton Hall have been given the option to move until the issue is resolved. 

Student resources 

For the time being, the bookstore has been moved to 116 Allyn Hall. UCIE will be moving to the Russ Engineering Center and RaiderConnect will move to the Student Success Center in the near future, according to Taylor. 

The Raider Food Pantry was unaffected by the fire and power outage and is making plans to move to a satellite location until the Student Union reopens. More information will be available later this week. 

Coronavirus vaccine mandate discussion 

The Ohio State University announced Aug. 24 that it will require students to receive the Pfizer vaccine in response to the FDA fully approving the vaccine on Monday. 

Because of this, a discussion will be held to determine if WSU will mandate the vaccine as well. 

According to Taylor, a survey will be sent to students to understand what percentage of the student population is willing to get vaccinated. 

Taylor opened the floor to SGA members for opinions on a vaccine mandate. The main takeaway from the discussion between SGA and Taylor is that WSU needs to consider the safety of students as well as what a vaccine mandate would mean for retention rates. 

“The debate at hand becomes the balance between finding the correct amount of safety needed for students as well as how many students are at the potential of simply not coming to classes anymore,” SGA President Jonathan Ciero said.

Alexis Wisler

Managing Editor

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