Harker commends staff on hurricane handling
Published: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 19:04
On Friday, after Hurricane Sandy passed through the East Coast, university President Patrick Harker sent an email to students commending staff and students on their preparation for the storm and sending sympathies to those affected.
Sophomore Nicole Gomes said she read Harker’s announcement post-Sandy and thinks he did a good job recognizing the university staff for working during extreme conditions, but the message should have been shorter. The body of the email was 576 words, which is approximately two double-spaced pages.
More students would have read it if it was not so long, she said.
While she thinks the university was prepared during the hurricane, Gomes said officials could have done a better job notifying the students who stayed on campus since their situation was stressful, and Harker did not address that in his message. She said she would have liked the alerts to be more accurate and specific because the university allowed students stay on campus.
Starting on Oct. 26, email, text and voice messages from UD Alert strongly advised students to leave campus and informed students of office closings, driving restrictions and dining hall options.
Gomes said she knows the alerts only need to address the students the school is responsible for, but they should have included more information and guidance for off-campus students.
“They’re still students and they still go here,” Gomes said. “If the storm was worse, they still would have been affected and they need to be safe.”
Marcia Nickle, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, said she sends out the alerts that inform students of class cancellation and the university’s status. She said the students in the residence halls are the university’s responsibility, so they felt it was best to let them know to leave.
“In the interim we felt it was safest to tell the students we were responsible for that they should go home if they could,” Nickle said.
She said their fear was that important buildings, such as residence halls and dining halls, would lose power and there would be no heat or food for the on-campus students. Nickle said she wanted the alerts to make it clear that the university did not want students to be in residence halls in case the power went out or they flooded.
She said the alerts generally provide less information for off-campus students because they do not use campus services.
Nickle said there was emergency preparedness information on the Office of Campus and Public Safety website, but it could have been advertised better.
Gomes said the alerts were helpful and the emails were informative, but they all gave the same information. She said the school should provide students with more information and make the emergency tips on the website more accessible. She did not know it was online and would have liked to see it before Sandy.
Gomes said she lives in Sharp Residence Hall, and stayed on campus because it would take too long to travel back to her hometown in Massachusetts. Her Resident Assistant and her family told her most of the emergency preparedness tips she needed for the storm. She and her friends made sure they all had flashlights and went to Walgreens to stock up on water and non-perishable food.