UB South Campus suffers power outage

Classes resumed Thursday after campus shut down Wednesday

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Students and faculty sat in dark lecture halls on South Campus waiting for class to start Wednesday morning. A few minutes later, they got the news that the entire campus had gone dark.

South Campus suffered a total power outage Wednesday that affected all buildings and canceled classes. National Grid had hoped to return power by 6 p.m. and then later 9 p.m., according to Deputy Chief of Police Joshua Sticht, but the power remained off until 3 a.m. Thursday morning. Classes resumed as normal Thursday.

All buildings on South Campus were affected, including the two resident halls and one dining hall on the campus. Students were allowed to sleep in their dorms and other accommodations were offered if needed, according to UB Spokesperson John Della Contrada. Students and residents who live in the University Heights were not affected as the power outage was only on campus.

According to a UB alert Wednesday night, emergency generators were powering sprinkler systems and lighting for hallways and exit signage. Cold water, hand sanitizer, glow sticks and flashlights were available for students as the outage continued. University Police also increased patrols of the campus.

Sticht said two main power lines supply South Campus. One power line burned out Wednesday morning and Niagara Mohawk, an international electric and gas company that worked to restore power, took the second line off for maintenance.

President Satish Tripathi has said in Faculty Senate and UB Council meetings that some facilities on campus are “very old” and need to be renovated. He also said it is critical UB gets money to restore the older buildings, especially on South Campus.

UB’s last main power outage was in February in the Ellicott Complex on North due to a frozen sprinkler. About 500 students were evacuated from their Red Jacket dorms and 50 of those students slept in the Triple Gym of Alumni Arena for the night. Most students were satisfied with the accommodations before returning to their room the next morning.

Ping Chen Chen, a freshman business major, lives in Clement Hall on South Campus and stayed the night on North Campus for the majority of the outage to finish homework.

“It was kind of scary and really inconvenient to do anything without power,” Chen said. “I know they tried their best, but it really makes things difficult for us.”

Chen was satisfied with the glow sticks that were made available, but wishes something could have been to get the power back on sooner.

Antwan Kearse, a junior business major, also lives in Clement Hall. Although he felt the UB alerts were helpful and efficient, he didn’t enjoy the night.

“I felt like the whole thing was unorganized,” Kearse said. “I hated it, I wish they were better prepared.”

Geoffrey Brown, a sophomore pharmacy major, was in class in Kapoor Hall when the power went out, which he said happened for his class between 8:45 a.m. and 9 a.m. The class waited for 15 minutes before the professor announced he would post lecture on UBLearns because it was unknown when the power would be back on. Brown lives on Main Street in the Heights and said there was no power outage there.

But some students didn’t get a notification until they had already reached South Campus.

Brian Hiciano, a junior exercise science major, walked into a dark building with only emergency lights on. Four minutes after arriving to class, he got the UB alert saying there was a power outage.

“Everyone was confused as to what was going on,” Hiciano said. “When we got the text we told the professor because he didn’t even know and then he canceled class.”

Goodyear Dining Hall was closed due to the outage – making North Campus dining facilities one of the only options for students living on South. Only essential employees were instructed to report to work. Bus services from North to South Campus remained on schedule Wednesday.

This article has been updated to reflect new information. The Spectrum will update this story as more information becomes available.

Gabriela Julia is the senior news editor and can be reached at gabriela.julia@ubspectrum.com