Do the Right Thing

November 01, 2012

Steven Stites
Steven Stites Acting Executive Vice Chancellor, Acting Dean, KU School of Medicine

This week, I want to write about how members of our campus community came together in response to an emergency and, in the process, showed how successful we can be when we do the right thing (#2 of my Five Rules). Although our campus emergency was miniscule compared to what happened this week on the East Coast, it has resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage (according to early estimates) and could have had a major impact on important research.

As I'm sure some of you know by now, on Saturday, Oct. 27, at approximately 8 a.m., our police and facilities personnel received notice of flooding in Wahl Hall East. As it turned out, a water line had come loose from a fitting in a lab sink eyewash station on the sixth floor. Though the water line was tiny, just 3/8 of an inch, the pressure was strong and water flowed all night, flooding all six floors of the south end of the building.

Responding immediately, staff from Facilities assessed the situation and got to work. Electronic equipment, computers and lab notes were soaked. Water was "raining" out of the ceiling, light fixtures, and duct work, and flowing out of cabinets and off of counters. Elevators weren't working. Our personnel contacted the disaster recovery professionals at ServPro Industries, Inc., who were soon on the scene to provide additional support. Researchers and faculty members responded immediately as well, helping our facilities personnel to rescue equipment and data. Cleanup operations continued through the weekend in order to get the labs ready for work to resume by Monday.

We do not yet know how much of our research may have been compromised. Although I am dismayed by the damage, I am extremely grateful for the fast and efficient work done by everyone who responded. And though the Wahl Hall East faculty and researchers are distressed by the state of their labs, they too, were moved by the prompt and decisive response from their colleagues in Facilities Management, the Environmental Health and Safety Office, Risk Management, and elsewhere. 

Everyone involved did the right thing. I am so proud of this example of our campus community in action. On behalf of Paul Terranova, Steffani Webb and myself, thank you!

Richard Barohn, M.D., the Gertrude and Dewey Zeigler Professor of Neurology and Chair of the Department of Neurology, was named the winner of the 2012 Chancellors Club career research award. Read more here.

The Microsoft Exchange email migration scheduled to occur this weekend has been delayed. The teams need additional time to work out a few issues and to complete more testing to help ensure a smooth transition. The new migration date/time has tentatively been set for Friday, Nov. 9, at 5:00 p.m., with a go-live time of 6 a.m. on Monday morning, Nov. 12..

Congratulations to the employees of KUMC and UKP for helping us surpass our 2012 United Way workplace campaign goal. As of Thursday, we have raised more than $85,350. The winners of the prize drawings will be announced next week. To everyone who donated, thank you for making this another successful year for our United Way campaign. A special thank you goes out to the committee that organized the campaign, including Fonda Briles, Lauren Parker and Jecarma Allen. 
Last modified: Nov 01, 2012