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Water main break drowns some Ohio State students’ academics

Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor

After a water main break caused 2,000 South Campus residents to evacuate, some Ohio State students have complained that their grades and studying suffered.
The Sept. 16 evacuation stranded 1,200 Park-Stradley Hall residents for three nights, and the students had only limited access to their rooms to gather books and some clothes. The students were not allowed to linger.
Students were also evacuated from Baker Halls East and West, but were permitted to return to their rooms by 7 a.m. Sept. 17.
The water main break coincided with the front end of midterm season, and some students who did not having access to their dorms for three nights said the abrupt evacuation affected their studying and grades.
Marni Young, a first-year in nursing, said she had a midterm on Sept. 17 and had been planning to wake up early that morning to study.
“I didn’t study as much for my midterm as I otherwise would’ve,” Young said. “I wasn’t as prepared when I went into my exam as I should have been.”
Young said she was lucky, because she was driving back to Columbus when she heard students were being evacuated and wouldn’t be able to go back to the dorm.
“Luckily, I had the things I needed to study,” Young said. “I know students who didn’t have time to grab their books for their exam on Monday.”
Other students had to find alternative ways to complete their studies.
Nathan Uhlenhake, a first-year in exploration, had three midterms last week and said he didn’t have as much motivation to study for his exams when he wasn’t living in his dorm.
“I stayed at a house on Indianola (Avenue) during two of the nights, and even though I studied, I didn’t study as much as I normally would’ve,” Uhlenhake said. “I was distracted.”
Executive Vice President and Provost Joseph Alutto sent an email to faculty Sept. 17 informing them about the water main break and telling instructors to be more lenient toward affected students in light of the situation, but Uhlenhake said all of the classes he heard about still had midterms as scheduled.
“A ton of people had exams all week,” Uhlenhake said. “Most classes had their midterms.”
Dominick Westlund, a first-year in psychology, commuted from his home in Powell, Ohio, during the evacuation.
“If I had class in the morning, my mom would drop me off on campus, I would go get my books from my dorms, then I would go to class,” Westlund said. “After class if I had a break, my mom would come pick me back up, and bring me home until my next class.”
Westlund said the time he spent commuting and driving back and forth took up hours he would have spent studying in the library or in his room on campus.
“It was a lot harder to study when I was driving 20 minutes back and forth a couple times a day,” Westlund said. “It was hard to get stuff done.”
The cause of the water main break is still unknown, and Dave Isaacs, a Student Life spokesman, said officials are investigating the cause.
Park-Stradley opened in August as part of a $171 million South Campus renovation project. The building was occupied for about a month before the water main break.

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