University looks to establish safety procedures for blackouts

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Students, staff and faculty wait for the lights to come back on at the entrance to the PCL on Tuesday morning.
Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

The University of Texas does not have specific protocols to deal with blackouts but will begin to form new procedures for dealing with possible future power outages, according to University officials.

“We have protocols in place to deal with emergency situations [but] not specifically to blackouts,” University spokesman Gary Susswein said. “Whenever there is an emergency on campus, the president convenes the top leaders on campus to figure out what to do. They were gathering information and trying to decide what the course of action was..”

Tuesday morning, the University experienced a campus-wide power outage. The University will form new protocols for dealing with blackouts because of Tuesday’s power outage, according to UTPD spokeswoman Cindy Posey.

“That’s the great thing about these incidents when nothing too bad happens — nobody was hurt and we learned a lot,” Posey said. 

Posey said UT’s communication system stopped working during the blackout, forcing her to find new ways to communicate with students, faculty and staff.

“We couldn’t get any emails out,” Posey said. “I learned to turn to other methods, and we did. We went to Twitter because the systems weren’t working. We also texted a message out. I learned to not spend so much time trying to get an email out on a system that doesn’t work. I kept trying, and Plan B is Twitter and text.”

Although University officials did not cancel classes, professors are permitted to cancel class if they see fit, Susswein said.

“Professors always have the discretion to let out class if needed, and many, many professors did that,” Susswein said.