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Lehman College: City University of New York
January 4, 2017

A Message from Lehman College President José Luis Cruz

Dear campus community:

I had no idea we would be dealing with an electrical power outage when I wished you and yours a wonderful, joyous, and re-energizing holiday season. But I am glad I chose the words I did.

The power outage we experienced yesterday was caused by water damage to one of our college’s main distribution lines. The resulting short circuit affected power to Gillet Hall, Davis Hall, Shuster Hall, T3, the Child Care Center and the Music Building cafeteria. The proximity of a water pipe to the distribution line is attributed to a design decision made approximately forty years ago during a renovation of the Music Building.

Once the nature of the outage and the severity of the problem were understood, steps were taken to evacuate and secure the affected buildings; relocate winter session classes and administrative offices in unaffected buildings; and establish a one-stop student services center in the East Dining Room.

We also worked with CUNY Central and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) to declare the power outage an emergency and get access to specialized engineering services to deal with the situation.

Major repairs are now underway—we expect that power will be restored to affected buildings by the start of business on Friday, January 6. Electrical service will be provided initially through emergency generators, with the expectation that we will be fully back on the grid within two weeks. We will continue to keep you informed as the work progresses.

So, we may have come back to a campus that is partially without electricity, but the sense of purpose that has guided our campus community in the last 24 hours clearly suggests that we are re-energized – and ready to meet any and all challenges that stand in our way as we move to accelerate progress in 2017.

I extend my sincere gratitude to all of the Lehman staff members who are working hard through the inconveniences of this situation, and express my admiration to our colleagues in Public Safety, Buildings and Grounds, Enrollment Services, Student Affairs and IT for creating the conditions that have allowed us to move our work forward in a safe and productive manner.

Here’s to a most memorable 2017!


José Luis Cruz, Ph.D.
President, Lehman College
The City University of New York