University | 10:21 pm | September 5, 2012 | By Nick Defiesta

Pundits crash CS Department meeting on espresso machine

Some surprise guest showed up at a Computer Science Department meeting Wednesday afternoon.
Some surprise guest showed up at a Computer Science Department meeting Wednesday afternoon. Photo by Nick Defiesta.

Do espresso machines get tested on animals?

Is it “espresso” or “expresso”?

These questions and more were posed at a Wednesday afternoon Computer Science Department meeting that aimed to answer a simple question: what model of espresso machine should the Department buy for Arthur K. Watson Hall’s second floor kitchen, and what should be the rules governing its use?

The meeting went a bit off course, though, when students began asking simple, seemingly irrelevant questions. Early Wednesday afternoon, students across campus received an email from one “Sue N. Tit, Ph.D.” — an anagram for “The Pundits.” The email told students to gather in the Prospect Street entrance to Becton Lab before walking over to the meeting at AKW.

“No supplies needed, just a strong opinion,” the email read.

Strong opinions, indeed, While a small group of computer science undergraduates, graduates students and faculty debated which espresso maker to purchase, several pundits voiced their concerns regarding the coffee machine.

“I heard they test [espresso] machines with animals,” one guest said. “Aren’t there other machines?”

One guest worried that the throwaway “K-cups” used in Keurig brand coffee machines are not environmentally friendly, while another was concerned that students from other departments would come to the building to use the expresso machine. A third student wondered whether the money could be used for something more important, like “better computers or stuff.”

“What about a tea maker? Can we just make tea?” another asked. “I’m just confused… is it espresso or expresso?”

Eventually, though, the jig was up: when one crasher was asked about her experience in the computer science department, she said that she was only a freshman, contradicting an earlier claim that she had taken introductory programming last semester. The small number of computer science students and faculty then gathered and continued the discussion.

One guest insisted that she attended the meeting to help make the best decision.

“We’re just trying to create an open forum of discussion,” she said.

Samer Sabri ’13, a student on the department’s advisory committee who first proposed the idea, said after the meeting that plans to purchase an espresso machine will go forward.

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