A power disruption in a high-voltage box caused the closing of campus roads and buildings this past Thursday afternoon. While not all such incidents can be predicted or prevented, the danger created to those passing by the smoking box is incredibly concerning. Furthermore, this is far from the first time students and faculty have been substantially inconvenienced due to a lack of electricity in buildings and road closures.
According to a report by the Daily Campus, Auditorium Road and part of Glenbrook Road were both closed, prompting the need for UConn Transportation Services’ buses to use alternate routes – and with some buses currently running without GPS technology that surely caused great confusion for students in need of transportation. Fortunately, students were still able to reach the Infirmary on Glenbrook Road. Electricity was turned off to Jorgensen as well as to Wood Hall at approximately 3 p.m. after the power incident, according to the Daily Campus report, and for the remainder of the day.
While no classes had to be cancelled in these buildings, the lack of electricity affected professor’s office hours, meetings and both undergraduate and graduate students in the buildings who were working on research and other projects. Not only did the power outage mean that there was no access to computer technology, but without lighting many people in the buildings had no choice but to leave early because they could not see after sunset. Not having the proper lighting to see clearly is not only an inconvenience, but also potentially dangerous.
This all being said, students and faculty at any top university should be able to expect properly functioning electricity. It is understandable that events like these may happen from time to time and are somewhat unforeseeable - such as when a squirrel got into a power transformer this past October and nearly half of campus buildings were shut down. While the cause of this power outage is not yet known, it appears to be a malfunction of the high-voltage box itself. If true, the university should inspect other boxes on campuses and prepare a backup electricity source in case this should happen again in the future.