Power failure for Evanston campus on Fourth of July

Audrey Cheng

The Northwestern University Police Department reported a power outage for the entire Evanston campus Wednesday.

NU Deputy Chief Daniel McAleer said because of the power failure, some of the buildings in the university were offline. Most of the affected buildings were east of Chicago Avenue and south of Sheridan road, he said.

McAleer said there was also a problem with the university police’s generator, which did not start when the power went off.

“Facilities management was notified of the power outage, who in turn notified University electricians,” McAleer said. “In the meantime, University Police Communications had all their 9-1-1 calls rerouted to the Evanston Police Department.”

University Relations communicated the university police’s report to students and faculty by email, text and recorded message. They also used a Breaking News system for security alerts posted and updated on the University homepage.

Media Relations Director Storer Rowley said the University determines how it sends notices by the severity of the message.

“If it is an emergency that can affect people’s safety, we use a Blackboard Connect system that sends multiple messages to phones, texts and emails,” Rowley said. “It’s important that you get messages out to people in all the different ways that you can get them.”

Weinberg sophomore Emily Ellinger, who is living near campus this summer, said while she is glad the University sent out a notification about the power outages, she doesn’t think it was necessary to send the message through phone, text and email.

“I don’t consider it to be the biggest emergency. It’s nice to know, but it’s not necessarily an emergency,” Ellinger said. “It wasn’t the same level as what happened at Tech.”

Rowley said while the University has been sending phone messages to students for years, they have been rarely used, as phone messages are used for most important emergencies and safety issues.

“We also used it for the power failure (Wednesday), because it was 100 degrees,” Rowley said. “Having no power in a building can be a health and safety issue as well.”

Rowley added that the University is working on incorporating social media as a way of communicating messages.

Power was restored to all NU buildings at 8:01 p.m. Wednesday.

[email protected]northwestern.edu