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OP-ED: It's Time to Standardize the Weight of Doors on Campus

Credit: David Akst

Walking around campus on a normal day, students encounter a variety of obstacles, not the least of which are doors of different weights. Heavy doors plague the entrance of Huntsman as well as many dorm rooms and other academic buildings, while unexpectedly light doors make victims of many students at the entrances to Levin Labs and other buildings. Unlucky students are susceptible to physical damage opening light doors, while others are susceptible to emotional damage when struggling to open heavy doors.

Take Colin Heagle, for example. His freshman year was off to a great start. He got along well with his roommate, he had made several friends in his hall, and he was excited about all of his first semester classes except for writing seminar, BBB109, Math114, and Econ001. As a resident of Riepe, Colin was living in a dorm room with an extremely heavy door - but he figured it would help him bulk up. Until Tuesday he'd avoided making any of the embarrassing freshman mistakes that so many fall into, like buying your textbooks at full price before classes start or accidentally dirty rushing MERT. Everything seemed to be going well, but like all good things, it could not last.

On the first day of classes, Colin made the long trek to DRL for his 10am class, and the last thing he remembered was walking up to the door. Then, everything went black.

Colin’s injury was just the latest in a series of door-related incidents around campus. As he was accustomed to the heavy door of his dorm room, Colin used all of his strength to open the door to DRL. He swung the door so forcefully that it struck his forehead, knocking him unconscious. What started out as a promising college career quickly turned into a disaster. Colin's family reports that while his injury is minor, the shame may last a lifetime.

Though tuition for the University of Pennsylvania increases every year, the administration still has yet to address the very real problem of varying door weights around campus. The student body has remained silent for long enough - it is time for us to demand that a standard weight for all doors on campus be set and regulated. Door injuries are avoidable, and to permit them without working toward a solution is inexcusable. As the head safety and influence publication on campus (and probably the world), Under the Button calls on the student body to hold the administration responsible - if door weights are not standardized within 35 days, we the students will boycott doors campus-wide. Together, we can make a difference.