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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Campus goes dark Thursday evening

Published: October 20, 2006
Section: News

Thursday evening, portions of campus lost electrical power for roughly ninety minutes. The areas affected were: the Shapiro Campus Center, the Science Center, the North Academic Quad, the North Residence Quad, Kutz, Goldfarb, Rosenthal Quad, Massell Quad, the Administration Building, Usdan, Sherman, and the Faculty Center. According to a campus-wide email sent by Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Peter French, the cause of the outage is under investigation.

However, he also wrote that NStar, the company that provides electricity to the Brandeis campus, was working offsite at a regional switching station located in Waltham. It appears that a power surge related to this work triggered a major failure in the Brandeis electrical distribution network. By 1:00 a.m. power was restored in all buildings except the Science Center and Usdan. No classes were affected by the power loss.

Brandeis facilities staff, the Waltham Fire Department, NStar, and electrical repair
contractors responded to the outage. Student Activities employees also arrived at the Shapiro Campus Center at 11:45, by which time the Campus Center was using backup power to run all essential electrical systems.

There was concern that students were possibly trapped in the Campus Center elevator, which prompted the Waltham Fire Department to force open the elevator doors. However, no one was inside.

They did a very impressive job of prying it open, said Oze Henig 08, who was present in the Campus Center during the outage.

Many students milled around the Campus Center Atrium following the power loss, unsure of what had occurred, and most stayed to watch the Fire Dept. force open the elevator doors. The Campus Center Team, under the direction of Evening Operations Coordinator Mark Metevier, controlled the flow of bodies and asked many students to move so that the Fire Dept. would have room to work.

Students Activities employees also surveyed the Shapiro Theatre and the rest of the Campus Center, to ensure that no damage was done to persons or property.