Lauren Moore
Campus Reporter

Since the emergence of UAB as an independent university in 1969, its campus has continuously been expanding and revitalizing to accommodate the always expanding UAB staff and student body. However, as new buildings rise, some original, decades-old buildings bring a possible health hazard to students.

“If the building was built before the late 1970s, asbestos may be found in insulation, both batt-type and vermiculite insulation,” said Dr. Michelle Fanucchi, associate professor of environmental health sciences. “It may also be found in spray-on ceiling coatings, in textured paint, in vinyl flooring, in the insulation of heating systems and electrical equipment.”

Many faculty, staff and students alike fear that some of these buildings pose a greater threat than simply being worn down, fearing that there may be potentially dangerous elements to these outdated buildings. One main concern is the threat of asbestos in the building.

“The word asbestos refers to a group of six types of naturally occurring minerals,” Fanucchi said. “All of the asbestos mineral is made up of fine fibers. The material is chemically inert and also fire-resistant. It also does not conduct heat or electricity. These properties make it a sought after component for insulation of all types.”

Van Thursby, director of industrial hygiene with the Occupational Health and Safety Department, is one of the individuals in charge of asbestos control on campus.

“Part of our program here is to make sure that any asbestos that is here is managed properly,” Thursby said. “We manage it by making sure that it is in good condition and that it poses no threat to our occupants. If it gets age on it and starts deteriorating to a point that it may be a possible hazard, we take care of it.”

However, according to Fanucci, simply the presence of asbestos should not be enough to cause concern.

“Asbestos is only of concern when it is ‘friable’ or easily crumbled,” Fanucci said. “If the asbestos is encapsulated, then there is very little risk unless it is disturbed. The risk then becomes when the asbestos is disturbed or aerosolized and amounts are inhaled over long periods of time. If testing reveals asbestos before a renovation or tear-down, then the Alabama Department of Environmental Management has regulatory requirements that need to be followed for removal.”

In case an asbestos issue should occur, campus maintenance personnel are properly outfitted and trained yearly to ensure that they are not harmed. This includes use of half-face respirators and cleaning off when any potential contact has been made.

The department examines every complaint received to ensure that the issue is not asbestos. If any investigation reveals the problem to be asbestos, the material is removed or encapsulated.

“We have air sampling around campus that is constantly making sure that there are safe levels of asbestos in the air,” Thursby said. “When it comes to managing the deconstruction of old buildings, the county oversees UAB. All asbestos is removed before any demolition or renovation can begin.”

James Fowler, director of Planning, Design and Construction at UAB, is one of the individuals responsible for making sure all demolitions of campus buildings stay safe, including asbestos-free.

“Sites are always checked for asbestos, regardless of if we think it is present or not,” Fowler said. “However, the drive of our department is not to get rid of asbestos but rather to simply be updating older buildings on campus, and, as a result, it also takes care of some of the asbestos issues.

Many UAB buildings are scheduled for demolition, including the Worrell Building, the Cancer Research Center, the Jefferson County Department of Human Resources and the 1200 “Food Fair” Building.

If someone finds a potential issue that they would like to report they must fill out a work order. If any issue is found then the matter will be investigated further. The department also works with consultants and contractors on the bigger projects, oftentimes using outside consultants.

Lauren Moore can be reached at

Aura and Real Life Poets host 2nd annual Spoken Truth Poetry Festival

Join us for a full day of artistry and workshops at the Spoken Truth Poetry Festival on April 14, 2018 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. at UAB’s Hill Student Center. Admission is free for all attendees. Aura Literary Arts Review (UAB) and Real Life Poets, Inc. have partnered to bring an array of activities to this year’s poetry festival, including a variety of workshops, a poetry slam, and a special poetry showcase highlighting spoken word performers in the region. Workshops begin at 1 p.m. with topics varying from the art of performing poetry, how to become a published author, and how to create your own handmade magazine.

Poetry slam participants must be between the ages of 15 and 21. The poetry slam begins at 5 p.m., followed by the poetry showcase at 6:30 p.m. We believe that art is a vital form of expression that develops independence, enhances creative and critical thinking, and encourages higher order thinking such as analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Art crosses cultural boundaries and breaks down social, religious and racial barriers. UAB’s Aura Literary Arts Review and Real Life Poets, Inc. aim to encouraging artistic expression, especially amongst the youth and young adults in our community who will someday help activate and bring about change in our world. So be prepared to enjoy a monumental day of truth and expression!

*To register to attend the workshops or participate in the poetry slam, visit For media inquiries only, contact 205.585.8271 or email

Spoken Truth Poetry Festival April 14 workshops begin at 1pm and continue until 5pm where the poetry slam and showcase will begin

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USGA to reign in new president: Candidates introduce platforms of their campaign to student body

pres pose 3 1 of 5Siddharth Srikakolapu

pres pose 2 1 of 2Erica Webb

pres pose 1 1 of 4Kevin Pittman

Photos by Laykn Shepard / Photo Editor

Lauren Moore/Campus Editor

As a young and growing institution, UAB looks to student leaders to help shape the future of the university. USGA hosted their 2018 Presidential Debate Thursday, March 1.

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Black Panther Movie Review  

Jo Wright
Life & Style Reporter

The release of Black Panther over President’s Day weekend spurred plenty of excitement, evidenced by its immense success in the box office. The original estimate of $165 million was eclipsed by the $242 million made domestically. The film, directed by Ryan Coogler, features a nearly all-black cast and qualitative female-empowering roles.   

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How to survive to school shooting: Capt. Amy Schreiner shares with students how to live through an on-campus shooting

Sufia Alam
Campus Editor

According to the Center for Disease Control, roughly half of those who commit or attempt to carry out a homicide at a school usually present some type of warning sign, such as telling others about their plan or leaving a note before the event.   

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