Marchetti, Grand Forest lose power

Lights out.

While this may be a phrase most college students haven’t heard
since their pre-teen nights at summer camp, it is a circumstance to
which some Saint Louis University students are becoming
accustomed.

Students living in Marchetti Towers, as well as some of the
Grand Forest Apartments, found themselves in darkness as the power
went out just after midnight on Saturday morning, Jan. 31. Power
was not restored until shortly after 3 a.m.

According to Mike G’Sell, director of facilities services, the
outage was not due to a malfunction with SLU’s transformer, but
rather a failure on Ameren UE’s main feeder out of downtown St.
Louis.

Last semester the power went out three times at various
locations around campus. All three outages were due to problems
with a transformer located behind Griesedieck Hall.

Although the power outage was a mere inconvenience for some
students, for senior Monica Rdzanek the ordeal has not yet ended.
The Student Government Association is currently investigating an
incident involving Rdzanek and Jessie Payne, the residence life
coordinator for Marchetti.

According to Rdzanek, she had a friend visiting from Chicago,
who planned to stay the night in her apartment in Marchetti East.
The two returned to the building at 12:30 a.m. so her friend could
get her keys and move her car. The lights were out, so a Department
of Public Saftey officer provided a flashlight so they could get
back to the apartment.

Around 3 a.m., Rdzanek said, she and her friend returned to the
apartment, where they were told that the guest could not be checked
in due to the power outage. They were told to speak with Payne, who
said the guest could either stay in the lobby or pay for a room at
the Water Tower Inn.

“We decided to stay in the Village, so they let me upstairs to
get a sleeping bag,” Rdzanek said. “As I was walking out the door,
the lights came back on. I figured that meant it was okay for her
to come up, so I went back downstairs, got my friend, and the desk
worker checked us both in.”

At approximately 4 a.m., Payne knocked on the door and told
Rdzanek that her name would be submitted to Judicial Affairs
because she did not have permission to bring the guest
upstairs.

“There is nothing in the handbook that states that guests may
not be allowed inside if the power goes out,” Rdzanek said. “The
lights were back on, and the desk worker checked us in; I don’t
think I did anything wrong.”

On Monday, Rdzanek received a call from Dan Herman, SGA chief
investigative officer, who was looking into the incident.

“Anytime we get a complaint from a student, we investigate it,”
said SGA President Nick Sarcone. “We don’t know a whole lot yet …
it seems to be that a student was put in a position she never
should have been put in.”

Sarcone also commented on the strict interpretation of policies
enforced by Residence Life.

“All it takes sometimes is a smile to get through [the
situation],” Sarcone said. “If Res Life would give a little, there
would be more happy people.”

Neither Shawn Swinigan, director of Residence Life, nor Payne
could be reached for comment.