Taylor myths & legends - The Echo News
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Taylor myths & legends

Setting the record straight about a few Taylor rumors

By Rebekah Hardwicke | Contributor

The Union is a historically protected building—false!


As a mid-century modern design over 50 years old, the dome has been eligible to be nominated for the National Register of Historic Places since 2008. However, Taylor has made no movement to do this.

“We have been slow until we knew exactly what was going to be housed in the facility before making any commitments,” said Vice President for Business Administration Ron Sutherland. “We have not had time to fully explore the total implications of this commitment. As the building gets more and more attention/consideration for future use, this is something we can look into/consider.”

The dome has been noticeably absent on master plans by various presidents, including current president Gene Habecker. Up until 2010, all of Habecker’s master plans showed the removal of the dome, but the 2014 master plan included preserving the dome. According to Taylor alumnus Wes Rediger (’68), Habecker told alumni and parents that he was going to save the dome after receiving letters from architects saying that Ivy League schools were putting forth millions of dollars to save mid-century buildings.

Some people are worried that because of the new Campus Center and plans to expand Rupp, the Union is once again in danger of being destroyed. Taylor officials say the dome is not going to be torn down.

“It is true that we have been discussing plans to expand Rupp,” Sutherland said. “However, those plans never broached the idea of demolishing the dome. The new space would not impact the dome.”


If your roommate dies you receive free tuition—false!


The only known reason for remitted tuition is for dependents of employees, according to

Stephen Olson, vice president for finance. This myth may be an alternate version of another rumor that if your roommate dies you get an automatic 4.0 GPA. This rumor, which is widespread throughout many colleges, either sparked or was caused by two 1998 films:“Dead Man on Campus” and “The Curve.” It is also mentioned in the episode “Some Buried Bones” on “CSI: NY.”


There are tunnels at Taylor—true!


There used to be three tunnels.

“Originally they were part of an innovation all across America when electricity replaced kerosene lanterns and gas fixtures for lighting, and steam heat replaced wood and coal stoves for heating buildings,” president emeritus Jay Kesler said. “Taylor built a heat plant with a coal-fired boiler to produce steam. The smokestack was there to release smoke high enough that it would not have to be inhaled.”

Newer buildings received natural gas systems in the 1980s.

“When Taylor started going with the computers and needed cabling run we would run some of the cabling to these buildings through those tunnels,” said Scott Bragg, superintendent of maintenance. Now, there are only two tunnels remaining under the campus.


Teachers are not allowed to give assignments on Dead Week—false!


The criteria for Dead Week is written in the faculty handbook.

“Faculty shall not give comprehensive final examinations the week prior to finals week since this could create undue hardships for students completing their various academic responsibilities. Course components, such as laboratory finals, are exempt from this stipulation. If a course has a comprehensive final exam, no paper may be due or unit test scheduled after Wednesday of the week prior to the final exam week.”

If the final exam is not comprehensive, papers and tests may be scheduled after Wednesday of dead week.


Taylor Lake is toxic—false!


“The grounds crew do weekly tests for E. coli during the summer while camps are here as a safety precaution, but the tests have always come back at acceptable levels,” superintendent of the grounds crew, Kerry Shanebrook said. “Rumor of toxicity may have arisen back in 1998 when there was a natural gas leak under the lake from a pipeline under the lake.”

The Echo reported the story on March 20, 1998: “After digging six feet into the lake bottom, SCUBA divers hired by Indiana Gas found the leak in a clamp on the gas pipe.”

According to Shanebrook, a diver fixed the leak and the line has since been disconnected.  There is a swimming area open during the summer, but ice skating is not allowed due to liability issues.

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