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Thursday, December 6 Updates

The below information was released from UT Police on Thursday:

UT Police Department investigators on Wednesday arrested three UT students in connection with vandalism that burst sprinkler pipes in Clement Hall, causing the evacuation of the building and damages over the weekend.

Arrested were John Robert Reed, 19; Aaron Edward Griesmer, 18; and Thomas Harvey Bellet, 18. All were charged with felony vandalism. They were transported to the Knox County Detention Facility for booking Wednesday. Griesmer and Reed were released early Thursday on $5,000 bond. Bellet was still in custody on a $5,000 bond as of Thursday afternoon.

The students told UTPD investigators that they were punching ceiling tiles in the hallway outside their suite. The three are suitemates on the seventh floor of Clement Hall.

Wednesday, December 5 Updates

The below message was sent to the 7th floor residents of Clement Hall on Wednesday:

The 7th floor of Clement Hall will reopen to students today at 6 p.m.

Below is information that you need to know before returning.

  • Dehumidifiers may be operating in the hallways as part of the process of reducing the relative humidity of the building following the flood.
  • Both elevators in the North tower of the building are operational.  South tower elevators are awaiting parts, but South tower rooms can be reached by North elevators.
  • You may find that furniture in your room has been moved around, as part of the cleanup and drying process.
  • When you return to your room, please keep your floors clear of items in case Belfor Property Restoration needs to reenter your room for continued cleanup efforts.
  • If it is inconvenient or disruptive to your studies to return to Clement Hall immediately, you may remain in your temporary assignment until after you have completed finals, or until Friday, December 14th.  After December 14th, you must be checked out of your temporary space.
  • To check out from your on-campus temporary accommodation, please remove belongings and return the key to the front desk of the building where you were staying.
  • If you were staying off-site in a hotel, your Hall Director will email you check-out instructions.
  • If you did not initially take temporary accommodations, but need them to complete your finals, please contact your Hall Director.If you have any questions, please reach out to us at housing@utk.edu or 865-974-3411.

Tuesday, December 4 Updates

The below message was sent to the 7th floor residents of Clement Hall on Tuesday:

We want to update you on the progress of the work in Clement Hall.  Crews continue to work on the 7th floor.  We want to provide assurance that all temporary spaces have been reserved for you through the end of finals week.

We anticipate that by tomorrow afternoon will have information about moving back in your room. A follow-up email will be sent with specifics about returning to Clement Hall when we have more information tomorrow.  You may choose at that time whether it is more convenient for you to return to Clement Hall or finish out the semester in your temporary accommodations.

If you have any questions, please reach out to us at housing@utk.edu or 865-974-3411.

The below message was sent to Clement Hall residents from Academic Affairs and the Office of the Dean of Students on Tuesday:

We are reaching out to Clement Hall residents after the vandalism that took place this past weekend. We realize that this event disrupted your week, particularly as you prepare for finals.

We understand this may result in a disruption to the end of the semester and want to ensure that you are able to maintain a strong academic focus during this period of transition.

Our offices have communicated with your instructors and academic advisors to explain that the situation in Clement Hall will temporarily disrupt your day-to-day routine. Our goal is to reduce this disruption as much as possible so that you can remain focused on your studies and prepare for final exams.

The Student Success Center and One Stop Student Services are aware of the challenges you are facing and are available throughout the week as you need them. You can contact the Student Success Center directly at 865-974-6641 and One Stop at 865-974-1111.

If you have concerns about your degree progress, you should discuss your academic plan with your advisor.

The 974-HELP referral line is available if you need additional support during this time. This phone number is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

We wish you well as you finish out the semester and encourage you to reach out for support and resources as needed.

Sincerely,

Robert Hinde, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Shea Kidd-Houze, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Life and Dean of Students

The below message was sent to instructors of Clement Hall residents on Tuesday:

On Sunday there was an act of vandalism at Clement Hall that resulted in a pipe bursting on the 7th floor. A significant amount of water damage impacted the electrical system in the hall. Clement residents were displaced for more than 10 hours as staff inspected the building and systems and dealt with damage caused by excessive amounts of water.

Students who reside on the 7th floor are currently unable to occupy their rooms as university housing continues to extract water and clean rooms. The students have been temporarily reassigned to other spaces.

Power has been restored to the south tower of Clement, but not to the north tower. Students in the north tower can either use their spaces or be temporarily housed elsewhere. Crews working on the power hope to have it restored later this week. University Housing has been in close contact with these students and is offering full assistance to facilitate their relocation.

One or more of the affected students are enrolled in a class you are teaching. Your college advising office has a list of all Clement Hall residents.

These students’ day-to-day routines will be disrupted over the next few days and for some through the end of the academic term. The disruption is compounded as students are preparing for their final exams. I ask that you take this into account if a Clement Hall resident approaches you with academic concerns.

Due to potential academic disruption, a small number of affected students may need to receive a grade of incomplete in one or more of their courses. Policies governing the grade of incomplete are listed in the Undergraduate Catalog. If you award a grade of incomplete, you should provide the student with a written explanation of how the incomplete can be removed from their academic record.

I encourage you to remind affected students to take advantage of the resources offered by the Student Success Center. Additionally, students who have concerns about their progress toward a degree should contact their academic advisor to review their academic plan.

Thank you for your commitment to student success and for understanding that these students may face additional challenges at this time.

Sincerely,

David Manderscheid
Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor

Monday, December 3 Update

The below message was sent to all Clement Hall residents on Monday.

Power has been restored to the North Tower of Clement Hall, and hot water pumps have returned to operation. It will take some time for pumps to circulate hot water throughout the building this evening. Elevators are still awaiting repairs, and we will notify students when those are back in service.

All exterior doors will return to normal card swipe operation shortly.

The 7th floor will remain offline while water remediation procedures are completed.  Students needing to retrieve additional belongings from the 7th floor can request a staff escort to their room by visiting the Clement Hall front desk.

Sunday, December 2 Update

The below message was sent to all Clement Hall residents on Sunday.

This morning, as the result of an act of vandalism, a water supply line supporting fire suppression on the 7th floor of Clement Hall burst. This incident has caused significant flooding on the 7th floor, and has compromised other systems in other parts of the building.

We encourage anyone who saw or heard suspicious activity in the early morning hours today to report it to the front desk. University Housing is investigating the incident.

Below, you will find specific instructions on how populations of Clement Hall are affected. For all residents of Clement Hall, please be aware that access to the building has been restricted to the main entrance near the front desk. Elevator service is not operable at this time. Additionally, hot water pumps are currently compromised, so hot water is not available at this time. Hot water should be restored shortly.

If you are unsure if you live in the North Tower or South Tower side of Clement Hall, check with hall staff. If you have any immediate questions or concerns, stop by the Clement Hall front desk.

All 7th Floor Residents (Both North and South Tower Residents):

Because of the water intrusion, 7th floor residents will not be able to occupy their rooms until all water has been remediated and the building has been thoroughly dried. This process could take through Wednesday, so students should plan accordingly. University Housing is providing temporary alternative accommodations beginning tonight for all 7th floor residents. Please see the front desk staff at Clement Hall to receive your temporary assignment. You will need to be escorted to your room to retrieve any additional belongings you need through Wednesday.

All North Tower Residents, except for the 7th floor:

Water from the 7th floor has also damaged electrical service to the North Tower. Life safety systems such as fire monitoring and suppression systems are functional, as well as backup lighting in the hallways and WiFi network access. Electricity may not be restored to student rooms for a couple days as those systems are dried out and repaired. Students who do not live on the 7th floor may return to their rooms tonight and may stay there, but will not have power.  We are working to provide battery operated lights for residents of the North Tower to use, and should have those available at the Clement Hall desk later this evening. For safety reasons, students may not use candles in their residence hall rooms. Charging stations are available in the Strong Hall study room, and will be available in the Clement Hall lobby and multipurpose room downstairs. If you are in need of special housing accomodations until Wednesday, please let your hall director know.

All South Tower Residents, except for the 7th floor:

Power is restored to the South Tower, and students can return to their rooms without issues, other than those noted above affecting the full building.

Below are answers to some questions regarding the incident.

How did this happen?

A pipe burst on the 7th floor of Clement Hall as the result of vandalism to the hallway ceiling on that floor. We encourage any residents to report suspicious behavior they may have seen or heard in the early morning hours of Sunday to the front desk as University Housing is investigating the incident of vandalism.

What damage has been done to the building because of the pipe burst?

A significant amount of water penetrated the 7th floor and floors below, including closets with electrical equipment. There is currently no power in the north tower of Clement Hall, which houses approximately 400 residents. The entire building is currently without hot water.

What is being done to remediate the building?

Belfor Property Restoration is currently working on the 7th floor to extract the water from the pipe burst in both student rooms and common areas. Next, the team will use dehumidifiers to completely dry the spaces affected. Additionally, staff are checking all other rooms within the residence hall to determine if any other rooms have been affected by water.

Do any residents have to move out temporarily?

We have been advised the residents of the 7th floor, a total of 90 in the north and south tower, will need to be temporarily relocated as it will take a couple of days to extract the water on that floor. The university has communicated to the students on the 7th floor about their temporary relocation spaces. North and South Tower residents can stay in their residence hall rooms. North Tower residents are without electricity at this time until power is restored. South Tower residents have full electricity. If a student in the North Tower needs special housing accommodations due to the lack of electricity, they should speak to the hall director.

What assistance are you providing to Clement Hall residents?

University Housing is reaching out to academic affairs staff to make them aware of the situation as we know this incident will be disruptive to students as they prepare for finals. Additionally, Housing is working to provide students who will stay in Clement Hall with lanterns and flashlights. The Clement Hall multipurpose room and the Strong Hall study room will be open 24 hours a day for students to use to study or charge their electronic devices. If residents have any items that have been affected by water intrusion, they should speak with their hall director to complete an inventory of affected items.