Lights Out

Once again, St. John’s was in the dark.

All but one residence hall experienced a total loss of power for more than an hour on the evening Oct. 2.

At approximately 10:07 p.m., students in five of the six buildings became immersed in total darkness until emergency lights were activated, lighting the hallways and stairways. Full power was regained again at around 11:30 p.m.

“My first reaction was shock,” said Tiffany Stevens, a sophomore education and English major. “At first, I just thought it was our room, and that we had too much stuff on. When it didn’t come back on we were concerned and confused.”

The loss of power occurred in Century, O’Connor, Hillcrest, Hollis and Briarwood Halls. Donovan Hall, the newest dorm, as well as Montgoris Dining Hall, did not experience the blackout.

Public Safety, working with the residence hall staff, posted an additional guard at the entrance of every building in order to provide assistance with crowd control.

“We wanted to make sure it was safe until the lights went completely on. There were no injuries, no thefts,” said Robert McDonald, deputy director of Public Safety. “Everything went smoothly.”

Students in the powerless dorms were asked to leave the buildings, and once outside, they were told that they could not stand in front of the building entrances.

Residents were then escorted through the darkened pathways outside of the halls to Montgoris Dining Hall.

Many students were not allowed back into the buildings until the power had been turned back on.

“The RAs were immediately told that the University was unaware of what caused the power outage, but that ConEdison was on the way to fix the problem,” Tim Gilroy, a senior human services major and Resident Assistant, said.

“The RAs were asked to go through the building and make sure that the residents in the buildings were okay, to see if there were any problems or concerns and to let them know that they could go to Montgoris Hall if they wanted to.”

Many students were upset, however, about the lack of organization from the Resident Life staff, and the lack of information given to the students.

“Eventually we became angry,” said Stevens. “We were not really informed as to what was happening.”

The problem was later reported to be a generator failure, though no further explanation could be provided by University personnel, and ConEdison was not available for comment.