Housing students at Long Beach State have expressed feelings of frustration after being notified one day in advance to expect a power outage in the residence halls both Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
Conducted by Southern California Edison, the power outage is set to occur from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. both Tuesday, Oct. 20 and Wednesday, Oct. 21. Due to the scheduled outage, Tuesday’s dinner hours were condensed from a four-hour window to a two-hour block, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
After notifying residents Monday evening that there would be an outage on Tuesday, officials then sent a follow-up email Tuesday afternoon to clarify that the outage is slated to occur Wednesday night as well. A third email was sent out Tuesday evening confirming that dinner hours were only rescheduled for Tuesday and not Wednesday.
Several student residents have expressed their concerns with not being warned of the power outage earlier in advance.
A fourth-year biology major, Lauren Benefield said she feels “incredibly frustrated” with this power outage as it disrupts housing students’ routines, particularly “during a time when a lot of students have midterms.”
“How do they expect us to do our online classes when they are basically preventing us from doing it with the outage? My room will be pitch black,” she said. “I can’t really do chemistry problems by hand when I’ll barely be able to see my notebook.”
As much of campus remains closed after the coronavirus pandemic transitioned the majority of classes online, study areas and computer labs are inaccessible for the time being. The housing service center will be closed by 8 p.m., according to the email.
“It’s so ridiculous. They barely gave us any notice in advance, so I don’t have time nor do I want to go to the store and purchase enough lighting to do my work,” Benefield said. “It’s not like we can go to the library or anywhere else to get work done.”
According to the email, the lights, Internet connection, microfridges and exterior entrances in the residential halls will all be impacted by the power outage. Residents were told to remain in their rooms “as best as possible to minimize lockouts.”
Benefield said she feels the “worst part” is that the WiFi will be inaccessible during the time when she is typically the most productive with her school work. She said she has “no idea” how she’ll be able to complete her work now.
“It feels like they really don’t care about the students,” Benefield said. “The only thing they are offering us [is] a single flashlight we can rent out. We still aren’t allowed to use candles or anything like that.”
Because there is a limited supply of flashlights, students wishing to check one out were told to complete a form by 3 p.m. on Tuesday and receive the flashlight sometime between 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
According to the CSULB resident handbook, students living on campus are prohibited from using any items that produce an open flame, which includes candles even during a power outage.
Residents were told to “minimize opening the microfridge as much as possible” in an attempt to keep food items cool during the outage.
Benefield’s sentiments were echoed by other dorming students who also felt it to be counterproductive for Housing and Residential Life to essentially render their online classes inaccessible.
Rechenda Jones, a first-year drawing and painting major, said she feels the power outage is “very inconvenient.”
“Luckily, I’m currently not at the campus and won’t come back until the power is back on, Jones said. “Those who are there will need to figure out how they will do their online classes and save battery.”
Another housing student, Destiny Foster, felt that Housing and Residential Life should have notified students of the power outage earlier than one day in advance.
“It is frustrating that they let us know a day before that we will be having a power outage,” Foster said. “It’s unfair that they would disconnect the Internet and not have any lighting, when many students have classes and have to study. Now we can’t use our laptops.”
A third-year public relations major, Foster feels that Housing and Residential Life should not have had the power outage “during the week when they know that the students have classes.”
On the other hand, second-year civil engineering major Sierra Morales said she prefers that the outage is occurring at night, when she is not attending class.
“Although I think it might make things harder for students who are only able to do school work during these times, it is better than having the outages during the day when classes are in session,” she said.