Power outages surge on campus

As classes were canceled, resident students were caught in black-outs

by joseph cotton and chloe salveson, campus news editor and staff writer
Newswire photo by Alex Budzynski
Students in Kulhman Hall, a first-year residence hall, was left in the dark by a power outage early Friday morning. Classes were canceled that day.

With power outages stricking residential buildings multiple times over the past few days, students were left in the cold on several occasions. 

The first power outage, which affected all first-year housing, the Village apartments and several academic buildings, happened at around 1:30 a.m. on Friday. Power was restored by approximately 5:00 a.m. in the residential halls, but was not turned on in academic buildings until later that day. As a result, classes were canceled. 

The second outage was on Sunday between approximately 6-10:45 p.m. and mostly affected academic buildings, including Alter Hall and the Mcdonald Memorial Library. 

The final outage was a scheduled maintenance outage for several buildings, including the Village Apartments, which took place on monday between 8-10 p.m. while Physical Plant was restoring permanent power to the affected buildings.   

Husman Hall Resident Assistant Anthony Contreras was going to bed at approximately 1:30 a.m. when one of his residents texted him about the power outage. He called the Xavier University Police Department, but the line was busy. 

“I walked out to a lot of my residents confused and half-asleep… Kuhlman Hall was pitch black,” Contreras said. 

Resident assistants utilize manuals for emergency situations, and Contreras followed the steps outlined to ensure the safety of his residents. The book instructed him to go on rounds, walking through the halls to check for the smell of a gas leak. 

Contreras continued his rounds until 4:30 a.m., his last round before the power returned at 5:15 a.m. He described the process as “lowkey scary,” as he walked through the dormitory’s basement. 

He added that this experience was not new, however. A similar blackout, lasting approximately five hours, struck campus in April of last year. The majority of students were off-campus during this outage due to the pandemic. 

Fear was a major theme among students who experienced the power outages in residence halls. 

“I was in the shower and the lights turned off, and I got really scared… I screamed,” first-year theater major Sarah Malarney said.

Newswire photo by Alex Budzynski

First year nursing student, Erin Macalintal, stated that although she felt safe given that she was inside during the outage, the thought of being outside during the situation felt like a missed bullet.  

“If I were awake, I would’ve felt different. I would have been startled, especially if I was outside,” Macalintal said. “Knowing that I potentially could not have gotten into the building is scary. I’d be standing outside in the dark in the cold weather. It would not have been great.” 

“I had no clue what was going on and at first I thought it was just my room. Then I walked outside my door and everyone was shouting that their power went out to,” First-year Adrian Stuphan said. “The RA came out and told us not to let our doors shut because we wouldn’t be able to get them open because the lock is electric.” 

Stuphan also noted that he was nervous about being ready for classes the next morning, despite the fact that they were ultimately cancelled. 

“I was super worried because I couldn’t charge any of my devices and my phone was about to die. I needed my alarm on my phone to wake up in the morning,” said Stuphan. 

“Then I looked out of my window and I saw that the Physical Plant officers were already working on the power plant to get it fixed so I knew it was probably going to be repaired by the  morning so I went to sleep.”