On Friday of Easter break, I woke up at what I thought was 8 a.m., but I didn’t know for sure because my alarm clock was turned off. Initially, this was weird to me, but my alarm clock at home would often be on its own terms and not work. But then, I realized I didn’t hear my fan, which I left on every night. This inclined me to get out of bed and figure out what was going on. I put the clues together to determine that we were experiencing a power outage. I texted my RA to figure out if it was the whole floor or just me, and she confirmed she also didn’t have power.
What I didn’t know at the time was that this was a scheduled power outage that the school had planned for in advance, and one that was kept from the knowledge of students. LMU sends us lots of emails throughout the school year; specifically, we get emails about pesticides being sprayed near dorms which warn students to close their windows. If LMU can send that email out to notify students about what is happening around dorms and on campus, they should have been able to do the same in this case of the scheduled power outage.
I have experienced power outages at home, but I was curious as to the cause of this particular one. I went into the hallway to further investigate, only to discover that the hallway lights were half-on, which gave an eerie, bunker-like feeling to the hall. I went into the bathroom to find the same lighting situation. After experiencing too many power outages at home, I knew that water facilities could still be used, but a student who may have never experienced a power outage before may have not known that.
I reached out to Student Housing to ask about why my fellow residents and I weren't informed of the power outage and Beth Cromwell, the associate director for resident services, got back to me. She informed me that Student Housing was notified along with the LMU community that there would be a scheduled outage on Friday morning, April 19 for the dorms in East Quad. She then disclosed that Student Housing was not informed of the power outage in other residence halls until Saturday morning and reported the power outages to the Department of Public Safety (DPS).
I was forwarded the email received by East Quad residents from freshman Cristobal Spielmann, who is an opinion intern at the Loyolan. The email reads: “Facilities Management has scheduled a power shut down for Friday, April 19 from 6:00 a.m.- 9:00 a.m. to complete electrical work needed for the upcoming summer projects. Please be mindful of the scheduled power shut down and plan accordingly. We recommend that you power down/unplug any electronic devices such as computers, phone charges, laptop chargers, etc. This will help to prevent any damage once power is restored at 9:00 a.m. We thank you in advance for your patience.”
I wish I had received this email before Friday morning, and I imagine I am not alone in my thoughts. Communication is vital to ensure that the least amount of confusion is spread. I am not blaming Student Housing, as they were also in the dark about where all the power outages were taking place, but this is a call to them to also ask for correct information in the form of better communication from Facilities Management and in general.
The power outage experience is not the first time LMU authorities have chosen to not communicate with its students on issues that pertain to our safety and well-being. In November, there was the threat of an active shooter on campus in my dorm, and the flow of information to us was minimal to none. This demonstrates a pattern of lack of communication which needs to end if LMU wants to have good relations with its students. In the future, I hope that LMU can better communicate with students on issues that pertain to us to keep everyone informed. I also hope that students remain aware and continue to hold LMU accountable to communicate and keep us informed.
This is the opinion of Sally Dean, a freshman political science major from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Tweet comments to @LAloyolan or email comments to the email@example.com.