Math Department not the only one in need of more space

Cheyanne Crum, Staff Writer

While reading the J-term Merciad opinion regarding the Math Department’s “banishment” to the fourth floor of Old Main, I question whether or not the author has actually taken a math course while here at Mercyhurst. If he has not, I and my fellow classmates that have learned that there is good reason for the math department to be positioned directly over the church (prayers are needed).

The odd placement of the department may be because most of the professors are not meeting with students up there, since I was just told to “go to tutoring” while I struggled through the class, instead of receiving help from a professor. I also question how much the author knows about the state of other departments at school, and how many other majors are placed in inappropriate environments that makes prospective students question attending here on taking tours.

Mercyhurst’s Applied Forensic Science program is one of those oddly placed departments that causes students to question attendance. As everyone has probably figured out by now, the basement of Zurn Hall is home to the Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute (MAI). What most students do not realize is that there are four majors located down there. One of them being the Applied Forensic Science concentration in Criminalistics/Forensic Biology. For this major, there is one professor who teaches all courses that count towards this concentration.

Retired Pennsylvania State Police Sergeant Dennis Donovan worked in the field of Criminalistics for many years, receiving on-the-job training in the field of criminal investigation before becoming a professor at Mercyhurst. Along with all the classes Donovan teaches for Criminalistics/Forensic Biology, he also teaches classes for the Criminal Justice department. He is crammed in a basement office, sharing it with the work studies for the department and a back room which is used as the lab classroom for Criminalistics and Indoor Crime Scene Investigation. When first entering the basement, it comes off as newly remodeled. The next lab to pass is the Wet lab. This is supposed to serve as an autopsy room, but is so inadequately furnished that the departments have resorted to using crockpots for their projects. It needs cleaned up in ways that cannot be accomplished by letting some work studies scrub at it for a few hours. It would need professionally cleaned and remodeled.

When visiting these underfunded and outdated labs, it comes as really no surprise that the department is unaccredited. The issues that are in the Math Department, like the broken door sitting near the printer and the paint chipping on the walls, are easily fixed if the department made a call to the maintenance department.

The MAI and Mathematics are not the only other departments that share issues of crowded, shabby areas. On the main floor, two of the biology professors are actually up a floor and inside of the painting studio. Students that have these professors may not feel that they are “going to meet Quasimodo,” but it’s definitely uncomfortable when a student has to go into the Art Department to find a science professor. There have also been questions as to whether Harry Potter is hidden in the back stairwell, or if it is actually a Mercyhurst professor forced to have his or her office in located in a hole in the wall.

One of the biology labs that is being offered this semester is so overcrowded that the professor joked we will have to work in teams of 12 to use the only two machines the school has that are relevant to this class while sitting in yet another underfunded lab. The math department requires textbooks, a classroom and somewhere for the extensive number of math survivors to bang their heads off the walls, and they have plenty of all three.

Biology and forensics are two departments that are just as poorly as the Math Department, if not worse. And there are more. The only departments at this school that have the amount of room they deserve, if not more, are Hospitality Management and Intelligence Studies. Yet, for some reason, even with their spacious area, the hospitality majors still feel the need to invade the Forensic labs from time to time.