Buddy System mimics the public spaces in
Civic Square Building, which houses Rutgers University's Mason Gross School of the Arts.
For So Much Better Than We Were, the walls were patched,
repaired and painted using the same shade of white as in the building’s public hallways, with the same black trim, and accent wall
of Rutgers’ official color, Scarlet Red.
The repair work was a nearly invisible but integral part to set the conditions for the painting and display of the other work. This highlights the hidden, devalued labor within gallery or institutional spaces, such as custodial, janitorial and maintenance. And is also analogous to the labor disabled people do to set the conditions for their existence or appearance in a (public) space. This has much in common with other forms of unwaged labor, which increasingly as it pertains to disability, is largely administrative navigation of bureaucratic systems.
The work stopped in a straight line at my perpetually-seated height (51 inches), dividing the walls as areas of care or attention, and neglect. The floor was swept, washed, and shined, but nothing was altered above the division line, including the lighting. The hanging of the other works on top of the mural bypassed traditional gallery guidelines which stipulate work ought to rest at the eye-level of the average standing viewer, guidelines which also prescribe what constitutes the average viewer.
The title Buddy System is sourced from Rutgers University Institutional Planning’s official policy on the “Evacuation of Individuals with Physical Disabilities.” The buddy system is described there as:
During the first week of classes or employment, make acquaintances with fellow students, residents, class members, or office workers. Inform them of any special assistance that may be required in the event of a fire alarm. [...] When the fire alarm sounds, the ‘Buddy’ (or assistant) will make sure of the location of the person with a disability, then go outside and inform emergency personnel that a person in that location needs assistance in leaving the building. Emergency personnel will then enter the building and evacuate that person.
The policy advises against the very collective responsibility and caring relationship the term suggests. The plan tamps down the reciprocal nature of relationships as though the roles of helper and helpee are fixed and defined by absence or presence of disability. In actuality, these roles are flexible and changeable, as disability is in itself. One does not need to be disabled to require help. Further troubling, the policy suggests a disabled person needs to be liked, or have some kind of mutually positive relationship with another person, in order to receive, in this case, life-saving assistance.
Buddy System (Score)
2020, companion to Buddy System (Video)
Read or skim this article, Westchester School Leaves Behind Disabled Students in Fire Evacuation.
Read or skim this article, Disabled Students Are Left Behind in School Shooting Responses.
Read or skim this article, School Settles Claim It Didn’t Evacuate Disabled Student During Fire Alarm.
Pause on or re-read any parts that resonate with you.
Copy and paste the following email thread into an email and send it to yourself.
On Tue, Sep 11, 2018 at 5:01 PM chloe crawford wrote:
Thank you so much for finding out this information and passing it on. This sounds like a workable plan for me, but it doesn't really take into account people who are just visiting and can't rely on a buddy system.
But I will bring my concerns to the disability office.
On Mon, Sep 10, 2018 at 11:43 AM Clint Baker wrote:
Good morning Chloe,
I reached out to Associate Dean Jacquie Mizrahi regarding your questions on Emergency Procedures for CSB and LAB. Please see Dean Mizrahi's response to my email below. Please review her response along with the Emergency Procedures below.
If you have any questions please speak with me.
Department of Art & Design
Mason Gross School of the Arts
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
33 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
From: Jacquie Mizrahi
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2018 11:12:37 AM
To: Clint Baker
Subject: FW: Emergency procedures - CSB
I am enclosing the information relayed to me from Josh Brody, Manager of Building Svcs for the Civic Square Building. Please review and pass along to Chloe.
In short, she should enlist a buddy (or several) to act on her behalf in the event of an emergency. Since LAB is a single story building, her egress would be unimpeded in the event of a fire. The same procedures would apply for sheltering in place.
She might want to input a few cell phone #’s in her phone to ensure that she has ready access to her buddies, to University Public Safety (the non-emergency # is 732-932-7111; she should use 911 any emergency).
From: Josh Brody
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2018 10:47 AM
To: Jacquie Mizrahi
Subject: Re: Emergency procedures
Our building's particular strategy for those who rely on the elevators is a combination of Buddy-System to alert the emergency services and Shelter-In-Place.
Our building's construction is steel and poured concrete. We have fire-rated doors (90-minutes), firewalls, fire-resistant ceiling tiles (25-minutes-per-tile), a smoke purge system that will work to keep breathable air in the building, and full-coverage with our sprinkler system.
During an evacuation, the building coordinator (primarily myself, secondarily my part-time staff) acts as the point person and meets with emergency services while the rest of the occupants evacuate to the sidewalk (off the patio.) We're directed stand by the door and people who need to relay important information (such as designated "buddies") generally give it to us on the way out so we relay it to the fire department. This is standard operating procedure for my staff here.
We haven't designated any particular spaces to be any safer, but in my experience if we had to, the corridors near the front stairwells would make the most logistical sense as thats how the fire crews go up, and have sprinkler coverage.
Regarding an active-shooter situation, when Bloustein had their active-shooter walkthrough some time ago, I remember hearing that the doors are also somewhat ballistic proof, so if they are capable of entering an office or studio where they can lock the door (via the mechanism on the side) then it is advisable to shelter-in-place in such a room.
We have an EAP (Emergency Action Plan) stored at the front desk and Rutgers keeps their policy on this particular issue here.
The entire public EAP can be downloaded here.
Please let me know if you have any additional questions.
Manager of Building Services
Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy
Mason Gross School of the Arts – Department of Art & Design
848-932-5201 / 732-552-7024 / 848-229-1004
From: chloe crawford
Sent: Friday, September 7, 2018 11:12 AM
To: Clint Baker
Subject: Emergency procedures
Not sure who to direct this to, but where can I find out the emergency procedures for people w disabilities in CSB and LAB?
This would include where the designated spot for people to wait if they need assistance, like a fireproof stairwell, also if the building has a stair-chair to use in evacuations etc. I am registering w disability office, and know that in theory they should know (and would also hopefully know for every building campus) but in practice it’s more important for everyone in the actual building to know.
My hope would be we could update the emergency procedures letter that’s on all the studio doors with one that includes info for people w disabilities, and also put signs up for designated areas of refuge.
In your phone, create a new contact and save this number: 732-932-7111.
Give it the first name Rutgers University Public Safety and the last name My Buddy.
Scroll to the bottom of this webpage, Rutgers University Institutional Planning Emergency Services.
Select the last link for Emergency Evacuation of Handicapped Individuals.
Study every word on that page, and record it to memory.
Copy, paste and save this list in your notes app:
Elevator out of service
9/18 - 9/23 front
11/16 - 11/18 front
12/30 - ? freight
Search for emergency evacuation chairs on Amazon.com.
Find the chair that seems the safest and add it to your shopping cart.
In your browser, search for the ADA information line.
Call their number, 1-800-514-0301.
Press 2 at the first menu.
Press 2 at the second menu.
Hang up before speaking to anyone.
Go back to your browser and search the term disabled students fire.
Read any articles you find.
Text in Buddy System (Instructions)
What To Do In a Fire Emergency
Mason Gross School of the Arts, Civic Square Building
This building has alarms that will go on when there is an emergency.
An emergency could be fire, smoke, or the smell of burning in or near the building, or toxic material released in or near the building.
The emergency alarms will:
sound like a voice speaking the words “this is an emergency, leave the building," in English and Spanish,
look like a scrolling text screen showing the words “this is an emergency, leave the building” in English and Spanish, and flashing lights which are programmed to not cause photosensitive seizures,
and feel like vibrations if you are wearing an alert bracelet.
Alert bracelets, light-blocking glasses, and noise-blocking headphones can be borrowed as you come into the building.
When an emergency alarm is on, leave the building quickly.
As you leave the building, do what you can to help other people and animals also leave.
Take the shortest path from where you are to an exit ramp or fire and water secured elevator. If you reach an exit and it is blocked, go to another exit.
If you leave by the front of the building, wait in front of the State Theater.
If you leave by the back of the building, wait near the parking lot guard station.
If you are in the parking garage, leave your car, exit up the ramp, and wait across the street.
Stay outside until the emergency is over. An emergency official will tell you when it is safe to go back inside.