Hobart and William Smith Colleges, collectively known as the Colleges of the Seneca, are private, liberal arts colleges located in Geneva, New York. Founded in 1822, Hobart College admitted only men. In 1906, William Smith College was founded at the same location as a college for women. Over time, the colleges began to operate collectively, with students from both colleges attending the same classes and sharing a commencement ceremony. The campus of Hobart and William Smith consists of sixty buildings on 195 acres of land situated on the shore of Seneca Lake. With a combined enrollment of 2,100 students, the colleges offer bachelor’s degrees in over forty majors, as well as master’s degrees in teaching.
In recent years, laborers who assisted in the construction and maintenance of the buildings at Hobart and William Smith colleges have developed and died of mesothelioma, lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases. Prior to the late 1970s, asbestos-containing pipe covering and insulating cement were utilized in the maintenance of steam pipes at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Asbestos was incorporated into pipe covering materials because of its durability and resistance to heat. Workers who handled materials that contained asbestos, or worked in the vicinity of those who did, are at risk for developing an asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma.
The Hobart and William Smith campus was heated by steam pipes that ran throughout the campus. Asbestos-containing pipe covering was applied to pipes in order to maintain steady temperatures within the pipes and to protect the pipes against damage. Irregularly shaped equipment in the steam system, such as valves or pumps, were covered by asbestos insulating cement. When maintenance or repairs were performed on the steam system, pipe covering and insulating cement were removed in order to access to the equipment. After this process was completed, new insulation was applied to the pipes. Removing and applying pipe covering and insulating cement caused asbestos-containing dust to become airborne.
Many union and non-union laborers who worked on construction projects at Hobart and William Smith Colleges were employed by various contractors throughout Central and Western New York. If you or a loved one were once employed as a laborer at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.