Then we came and ruined your fun

Construction is everywhere at Capilano, but students are getting creative to help themselves get to class without delay. In the past, the Courier has given you the latest updates about the construction happening at Capilano, that has forced the bus loop near the Horticulture building to be closed, as well as caused the reduction of parking spaces available to students and staff. Additional construction that is inconveniencing people has closed off the staircase leading between the Maple and Studio Art buildings, which has resulted in students having to take the slightly longer path between the east and west walks. However, it has recently come to the attention of the staff at the Courier that students have been using a hole in the fence between these two buildings as a shortcut.

Staff working in the newsroom reported seeing as many as three students pass through the space in the time frame of an hour. According to one student, the janitorial staff have also been allegedly using the shortcut, however this report is unconfirmed.

The “hole” itself is really more of a gap between the bottom of the fence and the ground that is wide enough that a student, equipped with a large backpack, can get through. There are, however, many potential dangers to using the hole. It is at the bottom of a rather steep dirt slope, which causes a possible danger to the students using it. There is also a considerable amount of ivy covering the ground, which could result in a possible tripping hazard. Because one has to jump a distance of roughly a metre to get to the actual sidewalk, this tripping hazard could result in a student falling that same distance. For example, in researching for this article, I did in fact try out the path and ended up with a dirty foot due to one of my shoes falling off, as well as large scratches on one of my feet as a result of getting tangled in the ivy.

The main reason students seem to be risking their physical wellbeing is because using the hole is a time saver. The time difference between using the appropriate path between the East and West walk and the hole in the fence is roughly 30 seconds, or approximately 35 per cent, faster. Student Jennifer Hapley* claimed that she used the path because she “[spent] a lot of time in Maple and also [has] a class in Horticulture, and it seemed more direct,” and it was “pain in the ass going around.” However, due to recent rainfall, she stopped using it because it is “kind of scary and muddy and then you start slipping and the vines break, especially when they are moist from muddiness ... it’s kind of like rock climbing with vines.”

However, the bad weather and obvious dangers of this shortcut have not deterred other students. Two students who declined to give their names were seen falling down the hill into the fence, and say that they would use it again. “I use it anytime I have to go from there to here ... I only have a small window of time to get from a class in Horticulture to Maple,” says one of the students. This veteran user informed us that, “You kind of have to just give it your all [if you want to take the shortcut] ... I usually just run down and put my arms out [in hopes that] the fence will stop me.”

One of them, a first-time user, declared he wasn’t bothered about injuries because his “wrist already hurt” and it didn’t matter because, “lots of kids probably hurt themselves.” He also said that despite his initial bad experience, he would “definitely use it again” if he was traversing between the two buildings.

Ian Robertson, director of the facilities here at Capilano, initially expressed surprise when asked about this possible danger to students whether or not he was aware of this possible danger to students, he initially expressed surprise saying, “I was not aware of any ‘hole.’”

Since the hole has multiple dangers surrounding its usage, liability on the university’s part could become an issue if someone was injured while using the hole.

“It’s kind of a grey area to be honest,” says Robertson. “We’re not inviting them to use it ... and it’s obviously not a pathway. If somebody chooses to use it, that’s their decision.”

It would likely be a difficult case for a student to prove that it was the fault of the school, as the path is clearly marked off by a fence topped by barbed wire.

In Robertson’s words, “If you invite someone over and they have six drinks, and they choose to drive home, is that your responsibility?”

Now that he has been notified, Robertson does say that he will be repairing the gap as soon as possible. Two men with clipboards were recently observed surveying the hole, and said they were planning on filling it in when questioned about their plans for fixing the situation.

If he follows through, the time of this hole in the fence has, unfortunately for some, come to an end, and students will once again be walking to and from Maple the long way around.

We’re sorry.

*name has been changed.


Time it takes to get from the second floor of Fir to the Capilano Courier office in Maple :
Hole in fence: approx. 67 seconds
Normal route: approx. 110 seconds

Distance between bottom of fence and ground:
136 cm

Probability that university staff have used this short cut:
1 in 6

Numbers of writers at the Courier who have used this short cut:

Approximate number of scratches on foot obtained during writing of this article:

How much I hate ivy because it has really rough vines (scale of 1 to 10):

Da Vinci Code moment :
Many of these numbers are divisible by 3! Coincidence?

//Celina Kurz

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© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: editor@capilanocourier.com