I'm a student at the University of Mississippi and live in Stockard Hall, a residence hall of eleven floors that houses roughly 500 students. From the beginning of this year, a few idiots have had the bright idea of pulling fire alarms in the dead of the night. What that means is a mandatory evacuation of every student in the hall -- for me, a 20-flight trip down the stairs -- and waiting outside for the fire department to arrive, search the building, and then lecture us for half an hour about how pulling the alarm is bad -- as if we all did it, or the person who did actually cares. Then, usually after about an hour of waiting outside, we trek back up the stairs into our rooms and try to salvage what sleep we can.
In addition to pulling the alarms in the dead of the night -- sometimes midnight, sometimes 2 AM, sometimes as late as 5:30AM, and sometimes multiple pulls in a single night -- people have also decided to tamper with fire extinguishers. By tampering, I mean setting them to continually spray, throwing them in the elevators, and sending the elevators to several floors, creating a huge mess.
The only floors with cameras are the first and the eleventh. Whoever is pulling the alarms is doing it anonymously; it is suspected that there are maybe a maximum of only three people doing this, but nobody is sure who it is.
The housing department has decided that it is appropriate to punish all 500 of us for the actions of this small minority -- who may not even be Stockard residents! We have all been stripped of visitation privileges for a week, and will lose an extra day for every time the alarm is pulled. That means that we can't visit anyone else, and nobody can visit us. That means I can't go hang out with my にねんせい friends and practice Japanese while watching anime, and my roommate can't have his girlfriend here but instead must visit her in the lobby or a public place. Additionally, the university has hired a private security firm to place patrols on every floor.
Aren't we the victims here? Surely the pranksters are getting a huge kick out of all this, especially if they are residents of another dorm. I'll be surprised if there are no more pulls within the week; if they stop pulling the alarms, then they're admitting defeat. If they pull the alarms, everyone gets pissed off and they win. Am I the only one who realizes this? I'm not saying that I have a better alternative to resolve the situation, but this certainly isn't the way to go.
Well, that's the end of this rant, I suppose. I'm just ready to be able to get some decent sleep; the one night in the last two weeks that I actually managed to get to bed before midnight (I have 8AM classes Mon., Wed., and Fri.) there was a false pull! I'll be glad when this is all over.