Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey today has prohibited the use of the University of North Carolina at Asheville’s five newly constructed residence halls because the buildings pose life safety concerns to students.
“As Insurance Commissioner, safety is my top priority,“ Commissioner Causey said. “I will not allow anyone to live in a building that may pose a threat to their life or well-being. However, I am confident we will be able to work with the university to swiftly abate the hazards in order to allow students to move in.” Commissioner Causey cites construction issues that would not allow for safe evacuations in the event of a fire.
By law, if the Commissioner determines an undue hazard to life, safety or property exists because of a condition or the use of a state-owned building, he can prohibit its use until the hazard is abated.
The construction took place under the guidance of the State Construction Office, which, by law, sits under the Department of Administration. Once the State Construction Office turns the buildings over to the university for occupancy, the buildings then fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Insurance. That happened on Wednesday, August 15.
Commissioner Causey, representatives from NCDOI and the Office of the State Fire Marshal’s Risk Management Division, and the University of the North Carolina at Asheville plan to discuss the issue on Friday, August 17.
Classes are scheduled to begin Monday, August 20.