I’ll let it be known right now – my family down in South River, NJ, had lost power for only a night during Hurricane Sandy, which made us extremely lucky with the fact that a large majority of Central Jersey was left in the dark for close to ten days as some people are still waiting for their power to be turned on at the time of writing this. However, while staying on campus as a dorming student, there seemed to be a clear lack of instruction for those who were left to bare the worst of Sandy in their rooms with no power, no hot water and, in many cases, food slowly rotting as many students had no way to cook it. Students were exposed to possible danger with the doors in several dorming halls staying unlocked due to the security system down. For Murray Hall, the sole entrance, which actually remained locked with the power being down due to how the door’s lock was set, was actually kept unlocked with tape, also allowing anyone who cared to enter the building.
There felt as though there was just an indifference to any concerns of the students. After an incident occurred with fighting outside and a bottle being thrown through my apartment’s window, which sent a student to the hospital, Murray Hall remained unattended to, despite several residents requesting for a Campus Safety employee to monitor the dorm at the entrance like all other dorm halls have. The solution for the broken window, which had glass that was apparently so fragile that a bottle could completely shatter it, was a piece of cardboard and duct tape handled by the people hired by the college to act as maintenance. No admins from Residence Life talked to students in Murray to make sure they felt safe. Neither did Campus Safety. The police were actually called by a student in Murray Hall, but it appeared as if they were turned away from the incident by some administrative party of the school, as no student actually got to speak to a police officer and report what happened to them outside of the school acting as a middle-man.
So there we all sat, feeling unsafe and tired. Outside of food – well, chips and cereal – students were left to fend for themselves for candles, flashlights, blankets, lighters and other needs in a blackout. In reality, I’m not angry at the parties involved for how poorly the incident from that night was handled. I’m also not mad that the first solution to fixing a window was thought to be cardboard and duct tape. For the most part, a person with a job has to try his or her best to get said job done with the supplies they have. The problem, it seems, is that despite our brand new university title and attempts to increase enrollment, all we still have in terms of supplies is an indifferent Campus Safety provided by a company (as opposed to actual police officers, as many other neighboring colleges have), an administration completely unaware of any and all aspects of student life and, well, cardboard and duct tape. Hopefully the $35,000,000-costing Mac Mahon Student Center is finished before another storm hits in the future. It looks like it’ll be a bit warmer than any of the powerless dorm halls were.
Online Editor’s Note – “Viewpoints” is a section occurs within The Pauw Wow when an event so strongly affects or influences the Saint Peter’s University community that we reach out and ask that the community write in and give us their own take on what had happened to them. For more Viewpoints on Hurricane Sandy, click here.