Hurricane Sandy batters Atlantic coast, closes College facilities
By Sasha Dudding, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Due to yesterday’s inclement weather caused by Hurricane Sandy, the College dismissed all on-campus faculty and staff members, canceled 3 p.m. classes and closed the libraries at 4 p.m. The decision to halt many of the College’s day-to-day functions was made following the declaration of a state of emergency by Gov. John Lynch, D-N.H.
Hurricane Sandy, popularly dubbed “Frankenstorm” by popular media due to its proximity to Halloween, has affected states all along the East Coast since its arrival on Monday.
“We’ve been keeping an eye on Hurricane Sandy since last week,” Director of Safety and Security and College Proctor Harry Kinne said on Sunday. “From the standpoint of preparedness, we believe that we are ready for what we believe will happen.”
While the College’s libraries closed at 4 p.m., the Class of 1953 Commons remained open until 8:30 p.m., and all other campus dining halls were open until 8 p.m. Novack Cafe and the 1902 Room continued to serve as 24-hour study spaces, according to Kinne. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences meeting scheduled for 3 p.m. on Monday was postponed, as were academic events scheduled for later in the evening.
While Vermont and southern New Hampshire experienced power outages yesterday, Kinne said he did not believe that the College would be affected, though he said that more Safety and Security officers would be on call Monday night. In a follow-up campus-wide email, Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson said that the College will continue to provide essential services in residence halls and at Dick’s House.
Daily operations at the College will likely resume as usual on Tuesday, though this will be further assessed early Tuesday morning, according to Kinne, who said he will participate in an emergency planning group with representatives from the Office of Residential Life, Dartmouth Dining Services, Facility Operations and Management, the Office of the Governor and the National Weather Service.
In light of the difficulties posed by Hurricane Sandy, the Admissions Office announced on its website that it will be flexible with its Nov. 1 early decision deadline and has asked students to contact the department if they are unable to submit applications by Nov. 5. This may have a large effect on admissions due to the traditionally high volume of applications from students living on the East Coast, according to Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Maria Laskaris ’84.
“We don’t know yet how many students will be affected, but certainly a very large portion of applicants come from the New England and Mid-Atlantic states,” Laskaris said in an email. “My sense is that many schools are offering a similar level of flexibility.”
Dartmouth’s application deadline extension mirrors similar postponements and announcements of flexibility at all other Ivy League universities, according to their websites. All other Ivy League schools, except Cornell University and Princeton University, which is on its fall break, canceled Monday classes, and many also canceled class today.
The deadline for students to withdraw from Fall term courses was also pushed back to Wednesdays from Tuesday, according to the Office of the Registrar.
Physics professor Robert Caldwell said he decided to cancel the 7 p.m. midterm for his Physics 13 class in light of the weather and rescheduled it for Thursday.
“I can imagine if you’re trying to follow a physics problem while there’s a hurricane outside, you’d be a little distracted,” he said. “Of the students I’ve talked to, they’re all pretty happy that their exam has been postponed.”
Although the hurricane’s effects on academics have been minimal so far, the announcement of a state of emergency has affected various student organizations and campus departments. Groups that chose to cancel events scheduled for Monday include Cabin and Trail, Collis Governing Board, DREAM and Women’s Forum.
The Tucker Foundation recalled the cars it uses for local community service projects and has made contact with its interns currently in northeastern states, according to Helen Damon-Moore, director of service and educational programs at Tucker.
The Rockefeller Center canceled its Tuesday lecture by 2010 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences winner Peter Diamond, according to the Center’s coordinator of public and special events Joanne Needham. The event will be rescheduled for May in order to “make the most of his time here,” she said.
Throughout the hurricane, the Athletic Department will work to ensure the safety of student-athletes and athletic facilities, according to Director of Varsity Athletic Communications Rick Bender. The only canceled ame was a men’s varsity soccer match scheduled for Tuesday against the University of New Hampshire.
Although Hanover is relatively far inland, the town has still been affected by statewide transportation issues, according to the Six South Street Hotel General Manager Donald Bruce. He said his business would be negatively impacted by room cancellations, though many Hanover stores have benefited from the purchasing of emergency supplies.
A handful of Homecoming weekend visitors are currently stuck in Hanover due to a lack of transportation options, Bruce said.
“Certainly, power is the biggest issue, and we want to be able to provide all of the comforts that one expects when staying at the hotel,” he said. “All I can say is we hope it takes a turn and won’t harm our area, but it’s gotta go somewhere.”
Most students said they were not very concerned about the effects of the storm. Nianyi Hong ’13 said that while he believes the library closure will be inconvenient, he does not think the storm will seriously harm the College.
“I remember during Hurricane Irene [in summer 2011] there were a lot of finals canceled, but it didn’t turn out to be too severe,” he said. “There’s a pretty good chance that the storm may be overblown, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.”
Though the College only canceled late afternoon classes on Monday, the University of New Hampshire canceled all of its classes on both Monday and Tuesday, according to UNH Director of Media Relations Erika Mantz. Thousands of UNH students returned home to weather the remainder of the storm, she said.
First Lady Michelle Obama’s visit to the university was also canceled, following a trend of politicians canceling campaign stops across the state, according to Mantz. UNH is predicted to see more extreme weather than Dartmouth because of its coastal location.
In addition to declaring a state of emergency, Lynch mobilized 100 National Guard members on Sunday in order to help with any emergency preparations and responses, according to a press release sent out by his office on Monday.
While the storm made landfall in New Hampshire on Monday, a high wind warning will remain in effect in the state until 8 a.m. on Tuesday, with gusts potentially reaching 60 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service. The hurricane was previously responsible for the deaths of 69 people in the Caribbean, according to ABC News.