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Volume CXIX No. 38 » INSIDE Thursday, October 11, 2012 Transformer explodes and catches fire Incident causes UConn server to crash, text alert system proves essential SENIOR SCOOP 2013 WINNER The class of 2013 flavor is mint, Oreo and fudge. It is up to seniors to pick the name. FOCUS/ page 5 ON THE ROAD AGAIN Women’s soccer travels to Pitt for final away game. SPORTS/ page 12 EDITORIAL: LIBRARY BIKE RENTAL PROGRAM SHOULD BE A YEARROUND BENEFIT Required safety waiver means the risk is 100 percent on the students. COMMENTARY/page 4 INSIDE NEWS: COLLEGE REPUBLICANS HOLD FIRST MEETING OF SEMESTER Students plan speaker events and elect a vice president. NEWS/ page 3 » weather THURSDAY Sunny High 58 Low 42 FRIDAY/SATURDAY High 51 Low 31 High 53 Low 42 » index Classifieds 3 Comics 8 Commentary 4 Crossword/Sudoku 8 Focus 5 InstantDaily 4 Sports 12 The Daily Campus 1266 Storrs Road Storrs, CT 06268 Box U-4189 By Mike Corasaniti, Kim Wilson, Christian Fecteau Daily Campus Staff A transformer in front of the Charles B. Gentry School of Education Building exploded and caught fire Wednesday, leaving several buildings on campus without power and leading UConn emergency response personnel to block off parts of Glenbrook Road. There were no injuries, said UConn Fire Chief John Mancini. Conn. Light and Power and the UConn electrical department are still investigating the cause of the explosion. Fire Chief Mancini said there is no danger and that the area was evacuated immediately following the explosion as a precaution. Wood Hall and Jorgensen will remain without power until CL&P and the UConn electrical department are able to repair the switchbox, Mancini said. Capt. Hans D. Rhynhart of the UConn Police Department said it is uncertain how long repairs could take. “Repair could be anywhere from two hours to twelve hours depending on whether they would need additional equipment,” Rhynhart said. As a result of the explosion, the UConn server was down. Students could not access UConn sites, log into library computers or use Huskymail. “The other thing that happened, I’m not sure, but as a result of the power outage, the university server stopped working so people were not able to receive e-mail,” Rhynhart said. “I think if you tried to access your email, it wouldn’t be able to. That’s where texting was the most efficient way to reach people. We wanted people to stay safe and stay away from that area to allow our emergency electrical workers to work there.” The road was blocked off with emergency vehicles and police lines from one end of the Gentry Building to past the Central Utility Plant down the road. “There was a big boom and flash and then the power went out,” said Joshua Wilson, a doctoral student of educational psychology who was in the Gentry Building at the time the transformer overheated. “A fireman told us it was possibly leaking PCBs, which might be flammable and hazardous to breathe in,” he said. Polychlorinated biphenyl molecules, or PCBs, were often used as coolant fluids and often mixed with mineral oil in transformers. PCBs were banned by U.S. Congress in 1979 due to their environmental toxicity and pollutant qualities. FILE PHOTO/The Daily Campus A transformer in front of the Charles B. Gentry School of Education Building, pictured above, exploded and caught fire Wednesday afternoon. Many buildings were without power and surrounding buildings were evacuated immediately after the explosion as a precaution. A fireman on the scene who did not give his name was asked if the transformer was leaking anything, and he replied, “No.” Several UConn emergency response personnel and vehicles were on hand at the scene, including firemen, policemen and two men in hazmat suits that arrived via a Special Hazard High Voltage truck. “This has happened before, the last time it happened was about five years ago up at Storrs Hall,” said another fireman at the scene who did not want to give his name. “Nothing was damaged.” UConn students were notified by the UConn alert system shortly after 2 p.m. that there was an “electrical emergency in the area of the Gentry Bldg.” and to “stay clear of the area until further notice.” “The lights went out and then they came back,” said Jennifer Wiley, a second-year graduate student in the school of counseling who was on the third floor of the Gentry Building when the transformer overheated. “We all got the alerts on our phone but at this point nobody has told us what to do or where to go.” Some rooms in the Gentry Building were closed, including the Department of Educational Psychology, which is located on the ground floor on the side of the building closest to Glenbrook Road. The door had a sign on it that read, “Do not enter per UCFD 6-4925.” Shortly after 3 p.m., UConn Alert sent out a message that read, “The electrical emergency has ended. It is now safe to return to your buildings and resume normal activities.” » USG Questions on the focus and purpose UConn to receive $2.1 of USG result in heated discussion million in federal grants Funds will be distributed to graduate students in five different departments By Katherine Tibedo Senior Staff Writer A heated discussion arose about the focus and purpose of the Undergraduate Student Government at its caucus Wednesday night. “I don’t think we know what we do other than funding,” said Speaker of the Senate Shiv Gandhi, a 4th-semester molecular cell biology major. Being a USG member, Gandhi added, “It’s an influential position; we have the students behind us.” The discussion came out of talk of a new program aimed at Tier II organizations which are those that can apply for USG funding. President Stephen Petkis questioned the program’s proposed goal to reach out to Tier II organizations specifically. “We do not represent Tier II organizations,” he said. While he agreed that new outreach programs are needed, Petkis, a 7th-semester political science and human rights double major, expressed concern that the Tier II outreach program would create a new set of constituents that would divert Senators’ time away from the constituents whom they represent. By Jackie Wattles Campus Correspondent SANTIAGO PELAEZ/The Daily Campus At the University Student Government meeting this Wednesday, members questioned the focus and purpose of the organization in what became a heated discussion. » USG, page 3 Student seeking master’s degree dead By Samm Roberts Campus Correspondent Scott Henry Guild, a UConn student, passed away Monday, Sept. 24. He was pursuing a Master’s Degree in accounting so that he could teach full time at the college level. He is survived by his wife Linda, children Rogan and Katelyn Guild, sisters Joanne Sorenson and Jeanette Ryder, and brothers Robert and James Guild. A memorial service to honor Guild’s life will be held at the Elk’s Lodge in Eureka, Calif. on Thursday, Oct. 4 at 3:30 p.m. Donations in his memory can be made to the Scott Guild Memorial Scholarship Fund via the Humboldt Area Foundation. Condolences to the Guild family can be sent to the Office of Student Services and Advocacy, Unit 4062. Departments of the UConn graduate school will receive $2.1 million in federal grants over the next three years. At UConn, five different departments will be receiving portions of the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (Gann): the School of Nursing; Neag School of Education, department of chemical, materials and biomolecular engineering; department of electrical and computer engineering; and the Office of the Provost in collaboration with the school of engineering. Grants are awarded annually to institutions of higher education from the US Department of Education. The funds are distributed in the form of fellowships to students pursuing the highest degree in areas deemed in “national need.” The interim vice provost for graduate studies and dean of the graduate school, Kent Holsinger, said the grant speaks volumes about the quality of UConn’s graduate school. “Few institutions receive more than one of these awards,” Holsinger said. “For UConn to receive five is a remarkable achievement and a testament to the quality of the graduate programs in which these fellowships will be awarded.” The funds are awarded to stu- dents at the discretion of the grantwinning department. Recipients are selected on merit and financial need and are selected from the pool of students who have gone through the admissions process. The fellowships are used partly to cover tuition and fees but may also be used to cover books, computer hardware or other expenses incurred throughout a student’s research. Mun Choi, the interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs of the department of mechanical engineering, said the grant money provided to the Office of the Provost and engineering department is for research in sustainable green energy and will allow the department to give out about 100 different fellowships. The School of Nursing will be receiving the largest grant at $540,000. Carol Polifroni, an associate professor of nursing instruction and research, said this grant is in response to the nation’s growing need for nursing educators. “You read all the time there’s a shortage of nurses, but there’s a bigger shortage for nursing faculty,” Polifroni said. “This money lets us provide students with the opportunity even if they’re not financially able.” John Chandy, the associate head of the department of electrical and computer engineering, said this grant is significant for American » FUNDS, page 2 What’s on at UConn today... Work/Life Expo 2012 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. SU, Ballroom The Clothesline Project 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fairfield Way Human Resources and the Work/Life Oversight Committee are supporting National Work and Family Month for October 2012. A traveling visual display of t-shirts made by survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence aimed at raising awareness about gender violence. Bruce Cohen Poetry Reading 6 to 7 p.m. Co-Op Bruce Cohen will be reading from his newest book of poetry, Placebo Junkies Conspiring with the Half-Asleep. Admission is free. Lipsync 8 to 10 p.m. Gampel Pavilion Join the 6,000+ audience and watch the student organizations compete for the first place trophy in this Homecoming 2012 event. – NIKKI SEELBACH

The Daily Campus: October 11, 2012

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