The McKeon Elevator Epidemic


The elevator situation in the freshman dorm has its ups and downs. (Owen Roche/THE OBSERVER)


I’m going to be honest: my Monday mornings aren’t great. I have an 8:30 a.m. class every day, so I’m forced to wake up early. I roll out of bed at 8:15 a.m., throw on some clothes, brush my teeth and pack my folders for class. I haven’t eaten anything, but it’s 8:20 a.m. I have plenty of time to get to my class, though, right?

Nope. The elevators don’t want to cooperate today. Again.

A strange and recurring issue for Fordham University freshmen lies with the McKeon Hall elevators. The elevator doors refuse to close the first time without fail. Sometimes they just won’t close at all. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think these elevators have dedicated themselves to becoming the bane of my existence. Ask anyone: the demonic monotone voice of the Elevator Lady will follow you into your worst nightmares. We’re a Catholic school, and our elevators need an exorcism.

This issue has only been present in McKeon Hall. The Lowenstein, Law School and McMahon elevators work just fine, even when filled to capacity. I’m a seasoned elevator rider, and never have I seen students jumping up and down, tampering with the electronics or throwing a huge Welcome Week party in the elevators. Surely it can’t be the freshman residents’ faults. Patient Zero in the Elevator Epidemic is the elevators themselves.

Assuming that the school is aware of the elevator malfunctions, one would think that there would be something done to fix them. They’re not that old, so why should they experience weekly breakdowns? That’s the students’ job. Something must be done. It’s a seemingly easy fix, right? An open-and-shut case. Well, more like an open-and-shut, open-and-shut, open-and-shut… what was I talking about?

Instead of any proactive measures, the only real administrative action has been the strategic placement of laminated signs in the McKeon lobby—signs to remind students how to use elevators correctly. As I had forgotten that I was five years old and had no idea how to read, push buttons or stand still for prolonged periods of time, this was a big help to me.

According to these laminated edicts of elevator etiquette, each elevator is recommended to hold 15 people at most. Naturally, students carrying backpacks with three or more textbooks count as two people and are encouraged to take a separate elevator. If the elevator that comes to you is full, you have to wait again for the next one. Unless, of course, you’re a fan of unscheduled stops between the 21st and 22nd floors as the loudspeaker berates you for your foolishness. Even when following those instructions, riders can expect to hear that godforsaken “going down” a hundred times before the doors finally close. It really is only going down from here.

This issue has led many students, myself included, to become concerned for their safety. If an elevator were to stop working entirely mid-ride, students’ lives could be in danger. Plummeting down an elevator shaft isn’t exactly on the top of my to-do list. The fact that we even have to worry about that is scary in itself, and the dangers don’t end there. Beware of sudden and prolonged stops, but please don’t bang on the doors too loudly. The elevators are sensitive.

An unrelenting frustration has prevailed over Fordham’s freshmen. These elevators make students late to class. And I hate to say it, but honestly, if anyone thinks they’re going to walk twenty flights of stairs to get to the lobby, they’re very wrong. Unless there’s a fire. Honestly, maybe not even then.

This elevator epidemic has been an unnecessary frustration, and it must end. Students should not be worrying about being late to class or meeting their imminent doom in McKeon Hall, just because of a few disobedient elevators. We have other things to worry about, like midterms, student debt and just generally being alive. Your calves can only get so big from climbing the stairs before your pants start to get too tight.

To the elevators of McKeon: it’s a painful experience watching you decide whether or not you want to shut. People have places to be and people to see. I’m tired of your incessant voice and fear of commitment. It’s not me. It’s you. I really need to get to class, and this is the hundredth time you’ve done this.

Open or close. Please, just make up your mind already.