Problems at UC Berkeley cause student worry

Electrical power outage and explosion caused campus wide evacuation of UC Berkeley on Monday, Sept. 30.

Electrical power outage and explosion caused campus wide evacuation of UC Berkeley on Monday, Sept. 30.

Aria Frangos, Scot Scoop Editor

UC Berkeley underwent a full campus evacuation after experiencing a school wide power outage and a massive explosion outside California Hall on Sept. 30.

The fireball was caused by damage to an electrical substation due to theft of copper wire there the week prior. Four students suffered minor burns as a result of the explosion.

The power outage was reported at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 30, causing all later classes and labs to be canceled. The aftermath included about 20 people stuck on campus elevators who required rescue by Berkeley fire crews. In addition, 11 buildings were left without power by Oct. 1 and 113 classes were canceled.

Two other instances of explosions and power outages have occurred on Berkeley campus within the past year, one of which was as recently as Sept. 12. Campus facilities department spokeswoman Christine Shaff says that the electrical system on campus is old and in the process of being upgraded as quickly as possible.

Sophomore Gustaf Claesson shared the opinion that UC Berkeley is thinking too short-term about their campus. “They didn’t spend money on changing their electrical system while spending large amounts of money on new renovations,” Claesson said. To him, the upgrade of an old electrical system  should have taken precedence over renovating the Cal Memorial Stadium.

University of California (UC) Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said, “Obviously our top priority is to continue providing academic activity on the campus.”

Sophomore Caitlin Caslow disagreed with Mogoluf’s statement. “If they want to prioritize education then they should first make sure they have all mechanical problems fixed and their campus working properly,” said Caslow.

Similar views were shared by other students such as sophomore Sirena Vasquez. “To put it bluntly, it worries me,” said Vasquez. “If the wiring has gone unattended for so long… who says that that’s the only thing there not in acceptable condition?”

UC Berkeley is a prestigious school, well-known to Carlmont students not only because of its world fame but because of its close proximity. However, student safety and academic efficiency being compromised by simple flaws like electrical systems is an issue that students cannot ignore, especially while considering it as a college choice. Being trapped in an elevator or unable to have class because of electrical issues is a detriment to every student.

According to Carlmont students, UC Berkeley needs to attend to the basic campus needs like upgrading the electrical system to avoid unnecessary interruption of student academic progress and ensure the continuance of their esteemed reputation.

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