By: Dakota Tibbetts, USM ‘20
As I reflect on my nearly four years at USM, I can’t help but think of all I have learned all of the wonderful people I have met, and everything that I have accomplished both personally and academically. However, I also think back on the many times that this school has let me and my peers down.
The name change debate, overcapacity housing, poor parking management, not putting the student activity increase into effect and staff cuts have all made my peers and I repeatedly question the motivations of this university and its ability to make the best decision possible for students; not for USM’s bank account.
Most recently though, I was frustrated by the handling of the Gorham power outage situation. I do believe that it was handled in the wrong way and for that I am frustrated.
While I understand that making our wonderful RA’s patrol for fire risks around the clock is inconvenient, is it more inconvenient for the RA’s or for those that have to pay them for all the extra work they did? Is that really less safe than uprooting hundreds of students from their living spaces with a mere three hours to gather their belongings and figure out where to go? Were the dorms really that unlivable?
It seems to me that the University staff made the decision to kick students out of the dorms in an effort to save money and not have to deal with the lack of electricity across the Gorham campus.
I applaud the Res Life staff and student activities for being innovative and absolute rock stars throughout the couple of days we went without power. I also appreciate the fact that the university allowed students to stay in Brooks for the night. However, that does not negate the fact that many students had to spend their own money, find their own transportation to their homes which may or may not have had power, or conjure up another place to stay because they did not feel safe staying in Brooks.
The main motivation behind closing the dorms, apparently, was safety, but leaving hundreds of students essentially homeless does not sound like safety to me. As residential students, we rely on the dorms to be just that: a home during the school year. A home that should be safe regardless of whether or not we have power.
I don’t know what needs to be done exactly, but something’s gotta give.