By Karen Rabinovici
This year, a much anticipated Halloween weekend did not go according to plan. While students contemplated whether to go out or not in light of the dismal weather, trees cracked and wires snapped all around Hartford and West Hartford. Those students who dared to venture forth into Hartford for the Halloween party sponsored by the school found that it took over two hours to drive from Hartford’s West End to downtown – and also found that other students hadn’t been so brave as to make the trek.
The next day Hartford and West Hartford looked like snowy battlefields. Trees, branches, wires, and leaves left no yard or road unmarked. Cars were damaged. The cage around the tennis courts at Elizabeth Park was torn apart. And worst of all, a large amount of the population had lost power, a real detriment in this dark and cold winter weather.
Because it was virtually impossible for students to prepare for school, and also impossible for many other students to get to campus, classes were canceled on Monday and Tuesday. The Law School itself, however, in the midst of surrounding devastation, had retained power, heat, and connectivity. Although there was tree damage on campus, it was minimal compared to the damage only blocks away. Because the school was fortunate enough to have remained in such good shape, the use of its facilities was offered to help alleviate the burdens placed upon the Law School community. The facilities were offered to faculty, staff, students, and their respective families.
The damage was so extensive in some areas that the Law School offered people to sleep on campus. About fourteen people took advantage of this opportunity for one or more nights. Thirty people took advantage of pre-paid laundry at WashTub across the street from school, and countless others used the shower located in the basement of Starr Hall. When classes resumed on Wednesday, sessions were recorded for those students who were still unable to come to campus. Dean Crawford sent out numerous emails updating the community and extending an offer of help to those in need. A big special thanks to her!
One student reported that he did not lose power and was able to endure the storm comfortably in his apartment located two blocks from the school. He reported, however, that as an out-of-state 1L without family in the area, he felt comforted by the fact that had he encountered difficulties, he could have easily walked to school where he “would have been welcomed by people who were doing everything in their power to make us feel safe and comfortable.” He could’ve taken a hot shower, eaten warm food, sought refuge from the cold, and done laundry at no charge. His sentiment of, “Thanks to the kind efforts of the staff at UConn Law, I certainly felt a little bit more at home,” is echoed by the entire UConn Law community and Pro Se.