A Freshman Muses on Dwinelle

Being new to Berkeley, I had been told by others of the horrors I could expect. I had heard about the bureaucracy, the junkies, the five-hundred-student classes. I was warned of dorm food, and coed bathrooms, and finally, the roommates who hold satanic orgies in your dorm, and then won’t let you join in. Yet no one had ever warned me about Dwinelle Hall. It’s not as if there weren’t plenty of opportunities. They told me about all the buildings designed in a style that could best be described post-Hiroshima, so it wouldn’t have been hard for them to say: “And by the way, there’s this one building, Dwinelle…”

And Dwinelle is bad. Corridors shift in ever so slight angles. The numbering system changes repeatedly within a single floor. These floors, by the way, aren’t numbered, but lettered. The bathroom doors are almost indistinguishable from classroom doors. On several occasions people have disappeared mysteriously within the building, and unconfirmed sightings of “man-eating zombie hordes” have been made by members of the faculty (though one highly controversial theory holds that these hordes are the faculty). University Physicists claim that the center of the building is home to a trans-dimensional vortex. And the toilets are unruly to the point that janitors refuse to approach them without one man standing “shotgun.”

The question then becomes: Why doesn’t our administration do something about Dwinelle? Now it is perhaps a bit naive of me to expect our administration do anything prior to a faculty encouraged student protest, and it might be a little late to fix Dwinelle’s real architectural problems, but still, the building could be massively improved simply by renumbering the rooms. Give each floor a number. Give each a room a three digit number; the first digit corresponds to the number of the floor. Simple, and standard.

So why hasn’t Dwinelle been improved? I considered asking this of administrators, other students, faculty, anyone who might be in the know. Unfortunately this would require work, so I made some stuff up. Here are two theories, anyway:

  1. Dwinelle is a work of Art.
    This makes sense. Dwinelle might be the architectural equivalent of Finnegan’s Wake. The only flaw with this theory is that some people have actually made it through Finnegan’s Wake.

    1. Dwinelle serves to protect gay rights.
      This theory makes more sense. I mean, how can right-wing Christian zealots worry about homosexuality at Berkeley when they have such a blatant Satanic presence given tangible form right in the middle of campus? Dwinelle, despite its evil, may be protecting gays by distracting merciless, Leviticus quoting bigots. In fact, here is an excerpt from a letter that Crusaders for Christ wrote to the administration: That building [Dwinelle] is a monstrous perversion, a blasphemy destined for the fires of Hell; it is a sin against both man and God! Destroy it! Destroy it now! And let us beat up atheists, the way Jesus wants us to! FUCK!!! I need a phonebook to tear in half! A SATANIC phonebook!”

    While we may dismiss some of their fiery language as simply a sign that they need to get laid, it would be unfair to dismiss the entire letter. Dwinelle makes me angry at phonebooks too. I want to throw dead goats at it, but goats are big, like elevators.