Posted by Philip Poole on 2011-09-06

Sarah C. Latham, Samford University's vice president for operations and planning, issued the following statement at 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 6: 

Early this morning, the campus experienced a complete power outage. Crews worked to identify the cause and to determine if the problem was with Samford equipment or that of Alabama Power. Samford team members worked with our contacts at Alabama Power all morning to run through protocols.  It was determined that the issue was a blown switch on the Alabama Power side. We have temporarily redirected our power to feed from a different switch off of Devonshire Drive to the north of campus. This will provide us a stable (unless Mother Nature has other plans) power source to keep the entire campus on until a replacement part can be obtained and installed by Alabama Power to restore our permanent feed.  At some point in the days to come (after the repair has been made) we will conduct a planned outage in order to switch the campus back to our regular source of power. We will coordinate with campus contacts and notify everyone in advance of that outage. With over 160,000 people without power in the Birmingham metropolitan area alone, Alabama Power crews cannot determine exactly when they can repair the broken part.  However, they have been a wonderful resource this morning to get us switched over to a stable source in the interim.  

The campus does have a generator, which can operate a few core facilities in the event of an extended (multi-day) power outage. This is activated in the event that there is no alternative power source to switch to in Homewood (as we were able to do this morning). Our emergency generator is also unlike your home generator where you simply put in gas and switch your power over. The emergency generator takes a couple of hours to switch over and is designed to sustain the University Center in order to provide food, Brooks Hall in order to provide emergency communication services, and the Hanna Center in the event we need to house everyone in one space. At this point, we are prepared for normal operations on Wednesday, September 7th - this means that classes and campus offices will operate on their usual schedule. 

We would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of the importance of signing up to receive RAVE alerts. RAVE serves as a vital communication tool during emergencies, and this morning it was a critical mechanism after we lost other regular sources of communication.  To sign up for RAVE, go to 

Thank you for your patience this morning. Also, I would like to thank the wonderful front line team members who worked tirelessly to get campus operations restored today.  Facilities crews, Public Safety officers, Campus Dining staffers, Residence Life team members, Technology Services folks, and so many others ensured our people were safe and fed as they tried to get the campus back online. 


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.