This is an old comic from college that was never published anywhere.  The art and font makes me cringe.  But I’m trying to get over my obsessive need for perfection by not redrawing the whole thing.  (I’d actually keep the colors, though.  My dorm actually was that garish.)

Most comics I drew in college were inspired by how miserable the University of Chicago can be.  Yes, I get that I was super privileged to go there, people would die for that opportunity, and whatnot.  But the dorm I lived in was an actual exploding shit hole.  And the university’s response was to try and make it out like us students were overly demanding entitled brats for wanting safe living conditions.

Seriously, elevators would drop floors randomly.  There was a ton of mold in all the bathrooms.  We had exposed pipes running by the head’s of people’s beds.  (We couldn’t just sleep the other way, because the foot of the beds were partially under the desks and lofting beds wasn’t allowed.)  For over a week, water seeped out of my dorm room floor every time we had the radiator on.  One girl’s room was right over the kitchen vents, which melted part of her carpet.  I knew somebody who got trapped in his room alone for almost a whole day because his door knob hardware fell apart and facilities didn’t think it was an emergency so they waited like six hours to free him.  The exploding toilets and 48 hour stretches without a functioning bathroom were really just the breaking point.  The whole building should’ve been condemned over a decade before it was finally torn down.

BTW- it cost the same amount to live in Pierce as it did to live in the brand new, air conditioned dorm with bigger rooms.  (Pierce rooms were 9X11 square ft.)

The student affairs people were actually planning on hiding dorm conditions so they wouldn’t have to fix the building.  How do I know?  Well, for starters a guy from our house was accidentally copied on a staff e-mail that clearly stated the information the message contained should not be forwarded beyond high-level staff members.

Also, my dad worked under a guy on Uchicago’s board of trustees.  I went through the dorm, took photos of everything I could, and sent the pictures to my father along with a link to the tumblr dedicated to documenting Pierce’s living conditions, a link to the Chicago Maroon article I linked above, and a link to a petition Pierce residents drafted to request the University take action.  Dad (who had previously been in the “you’re spoiled, dorms always suck, get over it” camp,) was disgusted by the photos.  He forwarded the information to his boss.  His boss told him that the board had received no information about Pierce, they were appalled by the dorm condition, and he was very glad somebody told him because he was just about to leave for a major budget retreat.

That’s right, Uchicago staff were trying to keep the Pierce situation a secret so it wouldn’t be in the budget and they wouldn’t have to do anything about it.  And further proving this was the case- within a week of that special Board retreat the university staff did a complete 180, actually apologized to students, finally did something about the plumbing, set up meetings to talk about what they could do to make Pierce more livable, sent people to evaluate all the rooms, bought new furniture & TVs for the dorm lounges, repainted everything, & gave every student $500 in gift cards to either the university bookstore, seminary coop bookstore or university owned food places.  (But I still had to send a series of really irate, borderline sanctimonious work orders to get somebody to clean the mold out of my favorite shower.)

So um, yeah.  I recognize my privilege but reserve the right to mock the University of Chicago as often as I feel like.




Side note- Uchicago gives students a random day off in February, allegedly so profs can have meetings or something.  Students call it “Suicide Prevention Day” because apparently that day off was instituted after a few too many people threw themselves off the tower at Rockefeller Chapel.  My friends and I used to joke that the university secretly wanted to kill their students and “Suicide Prevention Day” was meant to lull us into a false sense of security.