In the latest victory of bureaucracy over common sense, Beijing’s Communication University has told students they need a doctor’s note and a personal statement before getting permission to use air filters in their dorm rooms.
Beijing News reporters discovered that a student at the well-regarded Beijing school located on the east side of the city just outside the Fifth Ring issued a plea to the administration to ask for the right to use an air filter in the dorm, and was told that unless a doctor declared in writing that it was medically necessary, permission would be denied.
The doctors note must state that the student has lung problems or other breathing issues, administrators told the student. In addition, the student must pledge in writing that the machine would be unplugged and stored away when not in use, otherwise will be treated as a violation of the electrical equipment policy and would be confiscated for safekeeping.
Why a university is regulating any specific electrical equipment at all is a mystery to us, for we imagine most dorm rooms in Beijing already have endless electrical equipment such as computers, phone chargers, rice cookers, electric teapots, and humidifiers already.
Beijing news confirmed with the school’s dorm management office that air filters are on the list of restricted electrical equipment and that students are not allowed to use them just because they feel the air is bad.
In their defense, dorm administrators said air filters are restricted due to the threat of fire in the generally crowded dorms, and that they were the ones that suggested exceptions to the no-filter rules for students that have special medical needs.
Adding to the bureaucracy was a comment from a doctor at the Wujing Hospital who told the Beijing News, “Doctors can only write sick notes explaining students absences due to illness — we are not able to issue notes declaring that students need to use air filters due to medical necessity.”
Reporters asked Renmin University, Peking University and Agricultural University reps to see if they had similar policies but were told no specific regulations regarding the use of air filters were in place at these schools.