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Students install hot tub on North Campus

By Angela Son, Daily Staff Reporter
Published February 22, 2012

Upon hearing rumors that a hot tub had been installed on the roof of the Computer Science Engineering Building on North Campus this week, Engineering junior Caleb Yoon went up to investigate.

In place of the Jacuzzi, he found a flyer that read: “In Loving Memory, Gone but not Forgotten … Thou shall not mourn the loss, but rather remember the joy.”

Students first heard word about the tub — which was installed last Saturday and promptly dismantled the next day — through an anonymous blog post, “UofM CSE hot tub hack,” depicting the hot tub with a sign beside it that read, “The Bob and Betty Beyster Bubbler, a special gift for the students of Michigan CSE.”

CSE spokesman Steven Crang said the hot tub was not a donation from the Beysters, the new namesakes of the CSE building who recently donated $15 million to the College of Engineering. While Crang called the event “a prank,” he said that the CSE department found the whole event comical.

“Mystery is the part of the fun,” Crang said. “We think of it as a whimsical, unanticipated event.”

According to Rackham student Zach Musgrave, the self-proclaimed “public relations mediator” for the group of graduate students and faculty who installed the Jacuzzi and wish to remain anonymous, a professor who talked to the Beysters told Musgrave that they found the hot tub incident humorous.

Engineering freshman Chris Wendel said he had the opportunity to see the functioning tub and confirm that the rooftop Jacuzzi was indeed real.

“I thought it was fake at first, but then I went over and saw it for myself,” Wendel said.

Engineering senior David Porter said he heard about the hot tub from his friends and a post on the social news site Reddit.

“When I saw the Reddit post, I was in the Duderstadt (Center) studying on Sunday afternoon, and people were already murmuring about it,” Porter said.

Porter said he had the opportunity to use the hot tub, along with two professors and several other graduate students, adding that the group joked that the Jacuzzi might have an impact on recruiting top-level students.

Similar pranks like the hot tub incident have happened at other schools, like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where student hackers have previously documented their trickery on a website depicting moments like the placing of a replica campus police cruiser on the roof of an academic building in 1994.