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Williams Hall on Dec. 6, 2023.

Students and faculty have been dealing with unexpectedly high temperatures inside Williams Hall, especially in the building’s basement classrooms, throughout this week.

A notice posted on several classroom doors in Williams acknowledged the issue and attributed it to issues with the building's air handler, stating that "facilities is aware of the high temperatures in the classrooms, [and] the air handler is being worked on now." Several students spoke to The Daily Pennsylvanian about their frustration and unease over how the heating malfunction is impacting their education. 

Facilities and Real Estate Services declined a request for comment, and Building Manager of Williams Hall Mary Nixon did not respond to a request for comment.

Julia Heim, a lecturer in foreign languages who teaches classes in Williams Hall, told the DP that the University had not communicated additional information to the posted sign.

“I only heard through the grapevine … that there was a problem with a part and that it should be fixed by the end of the week,” Heim said. “What was communicated to me directly was only the sign attached to the door of the rooms that I teach in, saying that maintenance knows of the issue and is working to address it.”

College and Wharton first year Shubham Dixit told the DP that he had a negative experience with the heat during his Hindi class in Williams.

“I just started sweating, and there was a group of students that stood outside the door while the teacher was talking,” Dixit said. “They were fanning themselves with paper, and everyone was rolling up their sleeves.”

Similarly, College and Wharton sophomore Albert Jen said he faced challenges attending his Chinese class. Jen said that the classroom's temperature felt between 80 and 85 degrees, and his professor advised him to remove his sweater.

“Around five minutes in, I asked the teacher if I was able to prop open the door with a chair, and that helped a lot,” Jen said. “Towards the end of class, there was also a collective rush from the class to exit and get some fresh air.” 

Dixit also voiced concern about the situation’s impact on his learning, stating that "it was hard to concentrate when all you can think about is how hot it is.”

Dixit said that the lack of action in this situation reflects on the University’s administrative techniques as a whole.

“If students are being forced to adapt, then Facilities should also adapt in order to best meet the needs of students and faculty,” Dixit said. “They fail to address a lot of problems regarding student needs, and while they may think this situation is unaddressable, it just makes students think that’s going to be the response for anything else in the future.”