CAMPUS UPDATE (to Faculty/Staff)
F. Javier Cevallos
August 29, 2011
To the KU campus community:
First and foremost, I am thankful that no one on campus was hurt during the storm yesterday, and that damage to the campus was kept at a minimum.
In these instances, our number one concern is the safety of our students and personnel. We must provide all of our resources to keeping our students safe and secure, as we did over the weekend.
As you are aware, last night we made the decision to close the university today (Monday, August 29). It is important to clarify what it means in terms of scheduling/rescheduling of events, as well as the reasoning behind it. We understand the challenges this has posed to the opening of the new academic year. We ask for your patience and flexibility in the days ahead. Our plans will be evolving as the week progresses:
The following is what has been decided at this time:
- Classes will start tomorrow (Tuesday, August 30) under the normal Tuesday schedule.
- The Opening Day address will take place at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, August 30 in Schaeffer Auditorium. I understand that many departments and offices have different plans, so as soon as the address is over it will be posted on the web for all those who could not attend.
- Convocation is cancelled.
- All other Monday activities may be rescheduled as needed. Please monitor your e-mail and the Daily Brief for further updates.
The decision to close the university was based on the following series of events:
During the storm we lost electric power for several hours early Sunday morning (approximately 1:30 a.m. to 5 a.m.). Power was briefly restored and went off completely at 9:15 a.m. In addition, water and sewage was lost in the South Dining Hall and Berks, Lehigh and Schuylkill residence halls. Needless to say, this presented serious inconveniences to our students in those halls.
Our facilities area was in communication with Met Ed during the day regarding restoring electric power to campus. Every indication at that time was that power could not be restored in the near future.
Simultaneously, we started planning for a potential need to evacuate or relocate students. During the late afternoon the emergency lighting system at Golden Bear Village South went out, thus creating a very dangerous situation. At 6:15 p.m. the decision was made to evacuate Golden Bear Village South to the Student Recreation Center (where the Red Cross was setting up cots), allow students to move to traditional halls (emergency systems were working in these halls), or leave campus.
Based on continuing reports from Med Ed it appeared that power would not be restored in the very near future, and the decision was made to close the university for Monday, August 29. We felt that this decision would allow students who were uncomfortable with the on-campus situation to return home.
At 8:45 p.m., power was restored to campus and the decision was made to allow students to return to Golden Bear Village South. We also decided to keep the university closed to allow all systems to be restored.
In closing, I want to thank the Residence Life, Public Safety and Police Services, and Facilities for ensuring the safety of all during this very difficult situation.
Please feel free to share any concerns and best wishes with the start of the new school year.
F. Javier Cevallos