Two elevator permits have been expired since June 2019 in Mesa’s Humanities and Multicultural Studies Building (G Building) and Student Services Center (I-400), respectively, as confirmed by the State of California Department of Industrial Relations.
Both permits say the last date of inspection was June 8, 2018 and expire exactly a year later. The permits are in full view inside each elevator, as required by law, though most students and faculty do not take time to inspect elevator permits.
Despite the expired permits, the elevators have been operating, at least up until campus closure on March 23 due to COVID-19. The State of California Department of Industrial Relations clarified in an email that the elevator permit alone does not determine the safety of the elevator. “The most important factor in determining elevator safety is whether the owner of the conveyance has a contract in place with a competent elevator maintenance provider,” the State of California Department of Industrial Relations wrote in an email.
Mesa’s Vice President of Administrative Services, Lorenze Legaspi, wrote in an email that Administrative Services has every elevator at Mesa serviced and inspected once a month by an external elevator company, 24 Hour Elevator. The State of California’s Elevator Unit is habitually behind schedule when it comes to updating permits, resulting in expired elevator permits getting backlogged for renewal, Legaspi elaborated. “Due to the Elevator Unit’s back log, these inspections have not been completed on time for some time (facilities mentioned several years),” Legaspi wrote, referencing the SDCCD Facilities Services Department.
Many language classes are held in the G Building along with dozens of humanities professors’ offices. It is also where the Black Studies and Chicano Department resides, as well The Mesa Press’s newsroom. The elevator in the Student Services Center serves pupils looking to be lifted to counseling offices on the third floor or descended into Mesa’s Financial Aid Office on the first floor. Student Justin Choi, who has had classes in the G Building, expressed concern when he heard about the expired elevator permits, “Given this information, it certainly makes me question why this is the case. Quality elevator maintenance definitely would be a priority to my safety as a student on the campus, and if not having proper licensing to work on elevator maintenance compromises that, then I definitely would be concerned over my safety and whoever is in charge of that decision,” Choi said.
Elevators in the G Building are the original elevators from when the building was built approximately from 2002 to 2003, making them about 17 to 18 years old, according to the SDCCD Facilities Services Department.
Idly staring at one of these permits in an elevator on the way up to a counseling appointment, none of this background information is made known to students. What is only visible is that the elevator was last inspected two years ago, and the permit expired a year ago. Campus has been shutdown since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but when on-site classes resume, will students feel safe riding in elevators with expired permits?