Scripps students evacuated after toilets flood dorm rooms

Toilet water flooded dorms and residence halls at Scripps on Saturday, forcing dozens to evacuate. (Mabel Lui  • The Student Life)

About 35 Scripps College students living in the connected Frankel and Routt residence halls and the Senior Routt apartments were evacuated and moved to temporary housing for a week after two toilets flooded the dorms early Saturday morning, according to administrators and students.

A third-floor toilet in Frankel began gushing water into surrounding suites around 8:30 a.m., causing the fire alarm to go off twice within 15 minutes, according to Lucie Wharton-Moeur SC ’21, who lives in one of the affected suites.

Students shuffled outside and returned to their rooms after the alarm was turned off, Wharton-Moeur said. But nearly three hours later, water began flooding out of Wharton-Moeur’s toilet in Routt, and she and her hallmates were evacuated.

Josh Reeder, Scripps’ director of facilities, said via email that the flooding was caused by a broken gasket, a “component of the fresh water supply line to the toilet.”

Carpets in the hallways were removed, and Scripps students are expected to be able to move back in next weekend. (Talia Bernstein • The Student Life)

Scripps’ Director of Residential Life Brenda Ice told students via email that they would be placed in temporary housing until next weekend, describing the problem as “more extensive than initially suspected.”

Details of the temporary housing were not specified in the email, but described as “an open bed on campus,” in subsequent emails, Wharton-Moeur said. She’s currently staying with a friend.

Justine Iwata SC ’21 lives in one of the evacuated suites in Routt, and said the carpet in her suite and common room was removed, but “no property has been significantly damaged.”

All water in the Frankel and Routt Halls and Senior Routt apartments was turned back on for unaffected residents as of Saturday afternoon, Ice told students.

In other toilet-related news, students in North Dorm at Harvey Mudd College participated in “The Big Flush” Friday night, flushing several toilets simultaneously to see if the toilets would flush or if the water pressure would fail, according to Russell Bingham HM ’20, one of the dorm presidents.

During the incident, “some toilets and sinks at North immediately started dispensing brown water, and […] the showers that were running during the event briefly turned off,” he said.

Scripps spokesperson Carolyn Robles said there is “not currently evidence to support” a connection between the issues at Scripps and the Mudd students’ actions.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misspelled Lucie Wharton-Moeur’s name in one sentence. TSL regrets this error.

This article was updated Feb. 28 to include the cause of the flooding, and to include Robles’ comment regarding The Big Flush.

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