Rita disrupts classwork

UM campuses closed at noon on Monday in preparation for Hurricane Rita, which was expected to make landfall early Tuesday morning. The storm passed through the Florida Straits at winds of up to 70 mph but caused little damage to the UM campus.

Although the storm was seemingly uneventful for Miami-Dade, several disciplinary issues were reported on campus. These incidents took place in the dorms while school was locked down for the hurricane.

“We had several discipline incidents in the dorms which we’ll address with strict measures,” Dr. Pat Whitely, vice president for student affairs, said. Although Whitely could not further elaborate as to what type of incidents occurred, a crime log from the Department of Public Safety contained a report of simple battery at Mahoney Residential College on early Tuesday morning, as well as an incident of vandalism at Eaton Residential College late Monday night.

According to the Department of Public Safety, investigations are ongoing, though they did not specify as to whether those investigations relate to the accounts of simple battery or vandalism reported. The Coral Gables Police Department could not be reached for comment.

Prepared and spared the worst

With reports of Rita, then a tropical storm, circulating late Sunday night, University officials met Monday morning and promptly cancelled all on-campus activities.

Commuter students were satisfied with the University’s decision to close earlier than it did for Hurricane Katrina.

“Last time we had classes until five and I had to drive in the hurricane on my way home,” Sana Pyarali, junior, said. “This time we had a lot more time to get off campus. We bought food and everything that was necessary.”

“We actually put up shutters this time, because we didn’t have time to put them up for Katrina,” Michael Garcia, freshman, said.

To prepare for the storm, all tables in the UC Patio were brought indoors and students were asked to move their cars to parking garages in order to prevent possible damage.

“I think that given how Katrina affected us we did everything we could in terms of giving commuter students, faculty and staff time to prepare,” Whitely said. “We were all extremely lucky that we were spared and there was no significant damage.”

Once Hurricane Rita passed without hitting South Florida, student’s minds turned to concerns other than wind and water damage.

“I have missed a lot of class,” Beatrice Diaz, junior, said. “My base concern is, are we going to have to make it up? We haven’t had as many lectures as we should and teachers probably feel the need to cram everything in to meet whatever deadlines they have.”

Three full days of class have already been canceled this semester due to hurricanes, and with hurricane season in full swing, they may not be the last. The provost’s office met on Wednesday to decide how and when classes will be made up. An announcement will be made next week.

“It’s actually kind of good because I had a bunch of tests pushed back,” Amanda Killinger, sophomore, said, “so I have extra time to study.”

Natalia Maldonado can be contacted at n.maldonado@umiami.edu.