Students concerned about Rarig safety

A fire alarm couldn’t be heard in a number of the Rarig Center’s rooms.

Last Thursday night: ItâÄôs a busy place in the University of MinnesotaâÄôs Rarig Center with shows performing in both the Thrust and the black box theaters, as well as rehearsals in all the open and closed spaces that can be found.

The monstrosity that is Rarig was built in the 1970s with very distinct brutalist architecture.

It stands out from every other building around as the giant, concrete Lego block in the middle of the West Bank.

The building hosts four main stages, several rehearsal spaces, recording studios, a scene shop, dressing rooms, offices and other rooms that house hundreds of theatre, dance, design and music students on any given day.

One would think that with that many people wandering through the building at one time there would be the necessary measures taken to ensure the safety of all its inhabitants.

Thursday night told a different story. We were in the middle of our rehearsal of the Bachelor of Fine Arts Greek show, “Iphigenia at Aulis,” and one of our cast members knocked on the door of Room 10 with a worried look on her face.

She said, “People are leaving the building and there are lights flashing everywhere.”

We stopped and looked at one another, all asking the same question, “If there is a legitimate fire at Rarig, why didnâÄôt we hear the alarm in one of the main rehearsal rooms?”

As we exited the building through crowds of worried people, we heard several other concerns about the alarm system as well. “Why didnâÄôt we hear the alarm in the dressing room?” and “I was in the library and barely heard it.”

My question is this: Real fire or not, why canâÄôt several rooms in a University building hear the fire alarm system, resulting in the need for someone to come and warn us of potential danger? And why are budgets being cut from the arts buildings if we donâÄôt even have the basic safety needs required by the University and by law?