The hazards of Curtis 231 | The Triangle

The hazards of Curtis 231

There a lot of lecture halls at Drexel, and the vast majority are sub-par. Disque 108 has less legroom than United Economy. Bossone Auditorium has writing surface flip-outs the size of a postage stamp. Curtis 341 and 342 have a climate-control system repurposed from the tropical bird exhibit at the Philadelphia Zoo.

But amongst all our lecture halls, one stands out: Curtis 231. Not only is it an incredible accomplishment in mediocrity, it is unique in that it is also a genuine danger to life and limb.

First and foremost, Curtis 231 is not in Curtis Hall, it is in Randell Hall. Some bizarre partitioning in that area has left the firewall conspicuously and quite possibly illegally broken, and the interior decor would suggest it is Curtis Hall, but a cursory glance at a floorplan reveals the obvious: It’s in Randell.

All right, so it’s signed wrong, what else? Well there’s mediocre climate control, half-baked design (Risers? Really?) and exposed ducting and water pipes, really just about the standard you expect from a room in the buildings attached to Main. What’s unique about this one? Movable desks. Many of them.

So everyone sits wherever they want and no defined aisles or rows are created. More than once I have sat down in a seat, moved slightly, and it has tumbled off of one of the risers. Even more frequently than that, I’ve entered Curtis 231, seen dozens of free seats, but they were behind an impenetrable wall of recently-moved and occupied desks and admitted defeat and left.

I’d like to point out that this is also a genuine fire hazard. Should a crowded Curtis 231 have to be evacuated during an emergency, especially one that happens in or near the room (exploding light fixture, Bakken crude oil train derails and catches fire on the very-close-by West Philadelphia Elevated, whatever) there will be a confused stampede and dozens of deaths from trampling and being gored on upturned desks. I would be surprised if any more than the first “row” (if you could call it that) get out of there alive and unscathed.

I call upon students: boycott Curtis 231. Lecture attendance grades aren’t worth your life. The professor is probably going to put the slides online anyway.
If you do absolutely have to go into Curtis 231, probably for an exam, come prepared. Wake up (and shake off the cold) with an Irish Coffee.


2 ounces Jameson Irish Whiskey or, if you have it, Tullamore Dew
8 ounces hot coffee. (or however much fills the glass almost to the top.)
1 teaspoon sugar (essential!)
1.5 ounces heavy cream (or, for the aggressive version, Bailey’s)


Heat coffee and whiskey and add sugar. (The sugar is essential or the cream will not layer properly.) Stir, then add cream slowly to form a layer. Serve hot, and drink through a straw in an Irish coffee glass, or failing that, a thick universal wine glass.

Or, if you’re on your way to the exam already, a Wawa 12-ounce coffee cup will do nicely.