The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Power outage shuts down campus again

On Monday night, students found themselves scrambling for solutions once more as a power outage overcame campus. Similar to the outage last week, while the majority of campus had their power restored after a little over an hour, the 171 residents of Chi Phi, Lavender Lane, Conway, Pi Phi, Alpha Phi and Delta Upsilon were without power for longer, until approximately noon on Tuesday. 

Students faced similar frustrations with problems such as food spoilage due to inoperative utilities and interferences with studying as devices lost charge. They even struggled with communication issues between other students on campus.

“With the loss of power was the loss of Wi-Fi, which meant that I couldn’t communicate with anybody in my house,” Miles Asher Dorai-Raj ‘25 of Lavender Lane said.

Dorai-Raj expressed further concerns that there was a lack of communication between students and the school, citing that the school did not give enough detail on why the power outage happened while promising that it would be fixed “soon,” although it was not.

Director of Public Safety Jeff Troxell said that response time estimates are based on “a totality of information at that moment.”

“Typically what happens on a power outage call, our alarm systems will start to activate … Once we dispatch officers to the scene to find the source of the problem, we have a whole protocol we follow,” Troxell said. “When [Met-Ed] look[s] at it, they will give us their best estimate at the time. A lot of the time it’s difficult to determine when the power will be on before you determine what the problem is.”

Met-Ed is the energy company that supplies power to portions of College Hill.

Troxell explained that when there is a power outage, it is usually the case that the rest of campus loses power while those six residences retain their power.

Scott Kennedy, the director of Facilities Operations, did not respond to a request for comment. However, Kennedy, along with Annette Diorio, the Vice President for Student Life, sent out an email Wednesday morning revealing more details about the two power outages. 

We appreciate everyone’s patience and support for one another through the recent power outages and as we make these important improvements to our utility operations,” the closing line of the email reads. 

Within the message, campus officials said that both outages resulted from fallen trees and branches. Additionally, the six residences most affected by the power loss are said to be “on a different electrical grid with Met-Ed … than the rest of campus,” according to the email.

When power outages occur, Met-Ed usually focuses on fixing the largest distributions of electricity first, leaving the residence halls that are on a different grid waiting longer for repairs. 

Additionally, immediate, intermediate and permanent solutions were described in the email to ease student concerns.

Immediately, the student emergency fund has been allocated to reimbursing students in the six residence halls who lost perishable food during the outages. Intermediately, permanent generators will be installed in the six residence halls to serve as backup power sources in case of similar events in the future. Permanently, a second campus-wide generator and an automatic transfer switch will be installed, allowing power to be restored equally fast to all locations on campus regardless of differing electrical grids. 

“I apologize from the bottom of my heart to our students that have been affected by this,” Lafayette President Nicole Hurd said. “I’m actually about to extend an invitation for all the impacted students to come to my house for dinner Monday night, and think about other ways we can make them whole.”

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Jenny Davis, Staff News Writer

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