Mar.-Apr. 2019 Advocate: Letter to The Advocate


Confusion about why Skyline kept campus open during power outage

There has been a great deal of confusion regarding the power outage at Skyline College on Wednesday, February 27, 2019.

If my memory serves me, the Health and Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee has addressed some aspect of campus closures and/or evacuations in every meeting this academic year.

What occurred during this last power outage was a departure from past practices. We have always evacuated all persons on campus and closed the campus. There have been several power outages since the start of the Spring 2019 semester. In fact, we experienced this on Thursday, January 24, 2019, when no one was allowed back on campus until 5pm when power was restored.

On February 27, however, in addition to the text alert regarding the power outage and the cancellation of classes, a separate email was sent from Marketing and Communications that faculty and staff were expected to remain on campus. Some people did not receive this email and some did not notice it until much later. I have talked with other employees who were turned away from their buildings and told to go home and others were turned away while still in their cars.

There was no precedent for keeping employees on campus so it’s understandable that people would notice a text alert and not know to search for an additional message giving alternate instructions.

Our buildings are not uniformly safe for employees. Some employees require functioning elevators and/or other electronic devices to complete their tasks. The Emergency Lighting, at last report, may not be fully functioning in all areas of the campus. To my understanding, this is “Evacuation Lighting” which is designed to operate for 20 minutes…long enough for people to safely evacuate the building. Last but not least, electronic toilets do not flush…

I am an active member of the Health and Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee and if I am surprised about these new expectations I am certain that I am not alone.

Lori Slicton
Anthropology, Skyline College