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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Chemistry review sessions temporarily canceled due to fire safety policies

According to an Oct. 23 email from Tara Todd, the fire marshal was called by a concerned student at the Oct. 15 exam review session.
Anonymous Student
The crowded general chemistry review session, as photographed on Oct. 15, 2023. (Photo courtesy of anonymous student)

A student called VUPD during the Oct. 15 general chemistry exam review session due to overcrowding concerns. Chemistry professor Dr. Tara Todd, who runs the review sessions, temporarily canceled all review sessions for the rest of the semester.

According to Todd’s Oct. 23 email to students, a VUPD officer responded to the student complaint and found the session standing room only with multiple students sitting on each stair and on the floor. The fire marshall later called the College of Arts & Science Office of the Dean to discuss the situation. 

“The concerned student ended up leaving by 7:30 p.m. CDT because they felt so uncomfortable,” a message to Todd from the A&S Office of the Dean obtained by The Hustler reads. “I’m requesting that we develop a contingency plan for further review sessions that can spill over to the adjacent lecture hall if this requires Zoom or two instructors to be present.”

After announcing her decision to cancel review sessions, Todd shared on Nov. 7 that she and chemistry professor Dr. Aaron Daniel would bring back review sessions in a revised format. The upcoming review session on Nov. 16 will be hosted across three Stevenson lecture halls, as well as Zoom. 

“If you do not plan to actively participate by asking in-person questions, we ask that you sit in overflow in Stevenson Center 4327 to allow for those who wish to ask questions in person to be in SC 4309,” Todd said in her email. “If both rooms fill, we will have additional seating in SC 5211 where you can join by Zoom.”

Across these rooms, there will be space for 387 students to attend the sessions in person. 

Todd has also placed restrictions on office hours. According to another email she sent on Oct. 23, only students from Todd’s course section will be allowed to attend her office hours, which are held in her personal office. Her office hours will be limited to five students at a time. 

“This is in response to a student turning me in to VUPD for fire code violations,” Todd said in her email. 

Todd declined The Hustler’s request for comment due to The Hustler’s policy of not allowing sources to read articles in full before publication. 

Initially, students were upset to hear that review sessions were indefinitely canceled. First-year Divine Irakiza said she found the review sessions helpful and was sad to have lost them. She added that she liked to attend the review sessions to solidify her understanding of concepts, especially because of how office hours clashed with her schedule.

“While it was pretty crowded in the room, it was still upsetting to hear that someone reported it,” first-year Divine Irakiza said. “I’ve been trying to tell myself that they had good reason to do so. To be honest, I’m actually pretty curious about what this person was trying to achieve. I don’t think they foresaw the review sessions getting canceled.”

First-year Kayla Kornfeld echoed Irakiza’s sentiments. While not attending the review sessions herself in the past, she is glad they are being brought back as a resource. 

“I know those review sessions help get rid of discrepancies between different gen chemistry teachers and their teaching styles,” Kornfeld said. 

According to the A&S Office of the Dean, overcrowding of review sessions has never been a known problem in the past. 

“As soon as it was reported that a General Chemistry review session was overcrowded, the relevant campus offices were informed, and they responded appropriately to make sure it would not happen again,” the A&S Office of the Dean said in an email to The Hustler. “This was an isolated incident and has not been an issue in the past. The Department of Chemistry is committed to offering students the tools they need to succeed in General Chemistry.”

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About the Contributor
Rhea Patney
Rhea Patney, Managing Editor
Rhea Patney (‘26) is majoring in medicine, health and society and communication of science and technology on the pre-med track in the College of Arts and Science. She is from St. Louis and previously served as Deputy Data Director. When not writing for The Hustler, Rhea loves reading, starting new TV shows and struggling to finish them, playing sports and watching sunsets with her friends. She can be reached at [email protected].
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Lighten up
8 months ago

Vanderbilt Coronavirus police vibes