Rev. Dr. J. Henery
University Chaplain; Director of Communications
21 Sept. 2018
As do many St. Andrews faculty and staff, I wear a few different "hats" on campus, but the one I am now sharing is my role as your university chaplain with a pastoral message for our community.
Too many years ago and in seminary in Chicago, I briefly studied with an extraordinary woman who had developed a five-stage theory about how we deal with death or suffering or loss. She was Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and her theory was that when we lose someone or experience tragedy, we go through behavioral dimensions starting with denial leading to anger, bargaining, depression and last, but hopefully, acceptance of our situation. We slip and slide through these stages and often repeat and sometimes stay too long in one of the first four but the goal is to move to acceptance and deal with what happened.
In a very real and painful way, what has just happened on campus and throughout our region fits that description: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and now, slowly inching our way toward acceptance.
Simply put, a number of spaces on our campus were damaged and beyond denial, we are now challenged with numerous questions and uncertainty about returning/catching up, etc. No longer about denial, it happened and we must cope.
And somewhere out there is that final, almost elusive stage of acceptance. It's the hardest one to achieve. Experiencing acceptance doesn't mean we have to be happy or content about it or forget what happened. It means dealing with what we have, appreciating whom we have and doing our best with what we have.
And that, my friends—faculty, staff and students—is where we are.
Now, the sermon. We have been beat up and many are hurting about loss, even those who are not here, miles from Laurinburg with their own problems. But for the past week in Laurinburg on this campus and elsewhere, I have seen myriad examples of people who passionately care about St. Andrews who have been here cleaning, trying to fix or save something, the emergency shelter that was set up in the gym, townspeople who have come to help, alumni who have reached out. Our campus staff has been amazingly involved, doing all they can, considering that these same people also endured power outages and water damage. So much kindness and interest in this place that is an essential part of Laurinburg and Scotland County.
It's about acceptance: we are a real place with real people who are invested in what we are doing here. We can be upset about missing our games or classes, but we have to move on and reclaim the future of our community and once again, be with each other.
Scriptures and all faith traditions are full of verses relating to tragedy or loss but all resonate with a clear message: tomorrow comes and when people bind together, they will overcome and goodness will prevail. And yes, even whining a bit, but truly focused on celebrating that which is still to come.
Now is the time for us to move from denial, leave anger and "what ifs" behind and carry on.
Habakkuk (3:17-19) describes our situation thus: Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.
That is my idea of acceptance. Please, when we reopen and you return to make us whole again, join us as we continue to affirm our purpose to do our best to make a difference at St. Andrews. Like it or not, we are all in this together.
9/20/18 Thursday 11:30 AM
Today (9/20), the disaster recovery company we’ve hired to lead our efforts to mitigate water damage in our buildings, as well as clean up and remove debris, is set up on campus with equipment and staff and is actively working. At this point, the work is focused on the cafeteria and kitchen in the Belk Student Center and the first floor of the Morgan-Jones Science Center. Repair work is already underway at the Equestrian Center farm house and other areas that suffered wind and rain damage during the storm.
We have also hired an industrial electrical repair company to work with our local electrician and our own physical plant staff to restore power to campus. They have completed an assessment of our electrical system, dried out our electrical switch gear rooms, and run key tests to determine what needs to be done to safely bring power back up. Several replacement electrical components have arrived on campus this morning by FedEx, and our electrical team is in the process of replacing these electrical parts and implementing their plan to restore power as soon as possible.
More information will be forthcoming later today.
Paul Baldasare , President
9/18/18 Tuesday 5:30 PM
Clean up on campus is well underway today (9/18) and progress is being made. The rain has stopped and Lake Moore has receded considerably. Our staff and outside contractors are hard at work trying to restore power; drying out the cafeteria, kitchen and other areas on campus that received the most water damage; and getting all essential services back up and running. We are eager to get students back to campus as soon as possible. We do not have a specific timetable for re-opening yet, but will give everyone at least 48-hour notice as soon as we make that decision.
Please continue to watch for updates on the St. Andrews website and on other social media outlets. We’ll keep you informed as often as we can as we work through these next challenging days of recovery and re-opening.
Paul Baldasare, President
9/17/18 Monday 3:30 PM
As of this afternoon (9/17), the St. Andrews campus remains without power, but the city is making significant progress in restoring water city-wide, including at St. Andrews. No students remain on campus; all have been successfully moved to their homes or to temporary residences with power, water and internet connections. The lake overflow is rapidly receding and damage assessment is underway with the help of a disaster recovery company.
While the equestrian center sustained some wind and rain damage, all of our horses are safe, being fed regularly, and in good health. The physical plant and security staff on the main campus and the equestrian staff at the center worked tirelessly through the storm and did a great job of mitigating some of our damages. The student life staff and Pioneer food service worked closely with students and made sure they were safe, dry and had plenty of food throughout the storm as well.
A special thanks goes out to those St. Andrews alumni and staff who are helping to house students who were unable to return to their homes during the storm. Several members of the faculty and the administrative staff also contributed a great deal of time, energy and support over the last several days helping to mitigate damages, keeping essential services operating as long as we had power, and cleaning up wherever possible.
At this time, classes remain cancelled and administrative offices are closed until power is restored and a full damage assessment can be completed. As stated earlier, students and staff will be given at least 48-hour notice before classes are set to resume. Please continue to check the St. Andrews website for further updates.
Paul Baldasare, President
9/16/18 Sunday 11:00 PM
Today, Laurinburg and Scotland County experienced significant amounts of rain and some flooding in various parts of our local community. On the St. Andrews campus Lake Moore overflowed its banks in several low lying areas resulting in water entering the ground floors of the Morgan Jones Science Center, the Belk Student Center and the Morgan Liberal Arts Building. All residence halls and other academic and athletic buildings remain dry and well above water levels.
However, power was lost to the campus at approximately 5:30pm, but efforts are underway to restore it. St. Andrews has joined with county officials for the St. Andrews PE Building to be used as an evacuation site for local citizens who are experiencing flood waters in their homes, and the county crews have already set up generators and lights.
All students on campus are safe and dry in their residence halls. Our food service is set up to feed students and staff tomorrow while we wait for power to be restored. Another update will be forthcoming tomorrow morning.
Paul Baldasare, President
9/16/18 Sunday 4:30 PM
9/15/2018 Saturday 4:00 pm
UPDATE ON CLASS SCHEDULE
In light of the continuing impact of Hurricane Florence on road conditions, power outages and flooding throughout southeastern North Carolina and the forecast for continuing rain and high winds at least through Sunday, St. Andrews classes are cancelled for Monday, September 17, 2018, but will resume Tuesday, September 18, 2018, beginning with all 8 a.m. classes.
Although the St. Andrews campus maintained power and had limited food service during the storm, students should not return to campus until Monday afternoon, September 17, 2018, when all student services will be fully available. Students are required to check in with their Residence Director when they return to campus so an accurate count of all students can be made.
Student-athletes who have questions about scheduled practices and games next week should contact their respective coaches about schedule changes.
All faculty and staff are expected to return to work on Monday, September 17, 2018, unless weather, safety concerns, or other conflicts prevail. Staff members with questions about their return to work should contact their supervisor by email or phone.
9/15/2018 Saturday 10:30 am
UPDATE ON SAU CAMPUS AND CLASS SCHEDULE
Campus sustained minor damage during the storm. Power is on and everyone is doing well. Reopening will be decided later today.
Fallen trees and some wind damage appear to be the major effects from Florence.
The wind speeds have decreased. However, we will continue to experience some wind throughout the day. Expect heavy rain to continue until today and through the night.
The decision on when classes will resume will be made later today.
9/14/2018 Friday 11:00 am
UPDATE ON SAU FOOTBALL TEAM:
The St. Andrews Football Team will remain in Kentucky after tonight’s game with Georgetown College.
The team will travel back to Laurinburg on Saturday after the effects of Hurricane Florence have subsided.
As of 9/14/18 at 10:30 AM, SAU still has power.