You are currently viewing Ice Storm Survey Results: Experiences

Ice Storm Survey Results: Experiences

The Purple and White conducted an online survey as part of our February 2021 Ice Storm Coverage, open to the entire Millsaps community, including students, faculty, administration, and staff. Click here to read the data results from our survey.

Logistics: 41 total responses, 33 include experience descriptions. Results range from February 27th, 2021, to March 12th, 2021

Names of students remain confidential with our editorial staff. Expletives have been taken out, but other punctation and grammar remains the unedited. Each quote block represents responses from one student. Experiences are in order of date submitted. 

February 27th, 2021

“No water due to snow storm, all the walkways were covered in ice which made it extremely dangerous to walk especially for south side residents who had to get food. Also sharing a toilet with an entire building wasn’t the best either.” – Senior, on-campus

March 2nd, 2021

It was AWFUL. Millsaps was not prepared for the storm in any way and they waited until it was too late to let us go home or off campus. It was nice being able to go home because we aren’t allowed to be home over a usual spring break (so it doesn’t make sense as to why we can’t go home for spring break since we’ve already been home). What the most frustrating thing about this situation is is that they continued in person classes even though some people were more comfortable being home than on campus. Being stuck on campus without plumbing that first week was awful and unsanitary so expecting normal students to go back for in person classes is harsh since there are people with a disadvantage as in some people live off campus or their parents live near Jackson whereas a lot of kids don’t have that option to just go home, use the bathroom, shower, and brush your teeth. By Millsaps resuming in person classes with a lot of kids still off campus, that’s not fair and it’s rude because then it looks like those kids off campus are bad students and are behind the others all because they choose to stay home and live in sanitary conditions. Professors are said to be understanding when it comes to students wanting to stay home because of these conditions but instead those students are faced with much difficulty in trying to maintain good grades in the class while having the disadvantage of being at home when students are just trying to take care of their mental health by staying at home.” – Freshman, on-campus

The week when I was still on campus without water was terrible. They wanted us to only use the bathroom on the first floor, but the first floor toilet would get clogged, and the buckets would run out.” – Junior, off-campus beginning February 22nd

March 3rd, 2021

It was pretty rough, but given the circumstances I am grateful for all staff and faculty to dealing with the situation the best that they could.” – Junior, on-campus

“Generally, the past few weeks have been filled with difficult circumstances that have forced Millsaps students to adapt. I have felt and continue to feel a sense of frustration coming from students because of the water situation. However, most of the frustration is not necessarily directed at Millsaps’ workers, but rather at the situation in general. I believe what makes this situation so frustrating is the combination of events that feel very out of our control. Not only are we facing new approaches to learning in the classroom or finding new ways to enjoy our college experience, but we are also facing Covid protocols and a winter storm that has led to problems here on campus.” – Freshman, on-campus

“My general experience drove me crazy. I was excited about the snow because I had never really seen or experienced real snow before, but I did not expect this to happen. The fact that I was unable to shower, go to the restroom, or even leave campus with the same course load and expectations drove me insane. It’s as if the faculty didn’t realize or maybe even care at the time how bad we actually had it. I literally walked all around campus just to find a restroom to use and I couldn’t find one that wasn’t already filled to the brim. Luckily, I was able to get a hotel room with my friends by the weekend, but just those few days felt like a week with all the stress and isolation. The fact that students were still expected to complete work during that time just makes me so infuriated.” – Junior, on-campus

March 4th, 2021

“Over all, I had a horrible experience. I went two weeks without water, having to get five bottles every other day to stretch for both my body and teeth brushing as well as drinking.” – Sophomore, on-campus 

Honestly it was awful. There was a point where I was on campus and I literally could not find a toilet that wasn’t filled with poop. I had to get a hotel. And then when I was trying to drive home, the ice was super scary and when I was driving on campus there was one time I started to roll backwards because they hadn’t put salt down in the parking lot.” – Sophomore, on-campus

“So far, my experience during this water crisis has been both positive and negative. While I had basic provisions like food and water, I also noticed that I became increasingly stressed due to the lack of water, maintaining my grades, working, and maintaining my health in a pandemic simultaneously. It just felt like yet another external circumstance was lessening my educational experience, and I didn’t know how to handle it sometimes.” – Senior, on-campus

“Having to sit and figure out how to keep yourself safe just to use the bathroom in the middle of a pandemic is hard. There was 50 people in my building to one bathroom.” – Junior, on-campus

“It was awful. The campus was so unprepared for this situation. Sharing one bathroom among an entire building was a horrible situation. Someone kept peeing in the bucket with water in my building. It was absolutely disgusting. Eventually I chose to get a hotel room with some friends. We were not repaid by the school during our stay. Now I am home, 8+ hours away from Millsaps, and unsure as to when I will be able to come back. I understand it is a unique situation but it’s frustrating that I don’t know when I can return to campus.” – Junior, off-campus in a hotel then went home 

“It’s okay. COVID has definitely taken it toll but I feel it’s pretty good given the situation.” – Freshman, on-campus

March 6th, 2021

“The overall situation was not good, didn’t put anyone in charge here in a good situation. I feel like the school always keeps our general interests and safety in mind and did everything they could to get us through it; as a result, even though I have been getting tired of going to my friends house to shower, not having soda in the cafe, not being able to wash cloths, and going off campus to eat when the cafe was only open for an hour a day… I understand why I had to do that and I respect the maintenance staff and administration for doing everything they could to help us out.” – Junior, on-campus

“Professors pushed everything back creating a jumbled 3 weeks in which everyone and their mother sent out emails which added to the confusion.” – Junior, on-campus

“We have been without water for three weeks now and teachers are still expecting us to handle being in a water crisis and both a pandemic as well as we can. Many professors aren’t being understanding of the current situation we are in and are loading us with more work instead of becoming lenient. Being told that students could come back onto campus while the water still wasn’t working was manipulative and calculative and highlights the fact that we are seemingly just money to those in leadership positions. If they weren’t so worried about students asking for refunds due to them returning home or getting hotels off campus because there was NO WATER, maybe there could have been more things done to help the students. Also, holding an town hall meeting with just the SBA president is LOW. The fact that they had to put the SBA student president on a zoom call with students to be the punching bag of the students is deceitful. The fact that administration couldn’t face the students themselves is absolutely terrible. The whole handling of the water crisis alongside taking COVID considerations was horrible and could have been handled so much better. They may as well have given us our spring break because we deserve it, our mental health depends on it, and the school owes it to us after all of the things we have had to endure the last couple of weeks.” – Senior, on-campus

“It’s a little ridiculous that they asked students to come back to school this week if they were unsure about regaining water on campus. I had to be back for testing this week regardless, so I didn’t have a choice, but I feel bad for non-athletes that came back to campus without water.” – Senior, on-campus

“Everything changed heavily. The times of everything ran together with daily life and everything is just hard. Luckily my professors have been more than gracious and understanding during this process , but that hasn’t been the case for people around me. I am overall just [expletive, mad] at executive staff, they fumbled once again.” – Junior, on-campus

“I was able to stay on campus the entire time due to the fact that I have some absolutely amazing professors that would let me come to their home(s) and use their facilities. The school’s reaction was definitely below par. I understand that they could not give the order to just send everyone home because they do not have the money to give out refunds to the students. If the water being out was the only problem the campus was facing, then the administration’s response could be a little more forgivable. BUT WE ARE ALSO IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC. In my opinion, this brought a huge health liability to the school as students had no way to wash their hands (hand sanitizer only goes so far). The responsible thing to do would have been to shut down the campus and make students go home. As I said before, the school does not have the money to do so. I understand that there are inevitable expenses when running a college, but the way Millsaps CHOOSES to allocate the money left over after these fixed expenses is laughable. They use copious amounts of money on things that the students could care less about, then have the audacity to say that they are doing these things for the students. I will not even go into depth about the caf during the time that the water was out because the caf workers showed up at a time when others would not have. Just to finish, I think the school doesn’t actually give a [expletive, care] about the students because they LITERALLY did not even have the balls to talk to the students on an open platform using the Townhall setting. They made the SBA president do it when they knew how angry students already were about this whole situation. In short, grow the [expletive] up.” – Senior, on-campus

“The overall experience has been terrible so far. Not being able to use the restroom or take a shower for the first week especially because we weren’t able to travel due to ice. USING ONE RESTROOM FOR AN ENTIRE BUILDING IS NOT OKAY! Embarrassing and borderline dehumanizing… There was not much to eat in the caf, but I do appreciate those workers for coming to work during that kind of weather. When the roads finally cleared, I decided to stay at my friends home which is not very close to the school. Because I am staying here, I now have to drive 30 minutes to work instead of the usual 10 minutes when I am at school. But also, when taking other people into consideration, there are people at school who aren’t able to leave due to lack of transportation or maybe they don’t have friends who live somewhat close. So what about them? Shower trailers are there but it is also cold outside and they have to walk back in the cold… Port-a-Potties…. Overall, I’ll give the school (excluding maintenance, caf, workers, janitors), an E for effort in their attempts to “help”. I do appreciate the maintenance workers, caf workers, janitors, and whoever else continued to come to work during the winter storm and sleep in their offices when they have families at home. Thank you for your hard work because I know it has not been easy. Meanwhile, other important people sat down the street in their big, warm home 🙂 So, in conclusion, will we be refunded? Because we are paying for dorms and school with no water…” – Sophomore, on-campus until February 20th, back the 1st of March

“I understand that the school wants us to return to campus as soon as possible since it is more favorable financially and educationally but having all of the students return before the water was fully fixed likely increased the problems since most students are going to use the water if there is any pressure available. Athletes had to return and deal with it the most and it was quite annoying to find that New South typically didn’t have much of any water if any at all and laundry was basically impossible as well. I was lucky to have friends off-campus to do laundry but otherwise the Laundry Fairy closed while most students were in lab or were about to go to sports meaning most of us could not go. Most of this is less on the school and mostly on Jackson’s terrible infrastructure but it could benefit the school to prepare a bit better for the future since this has happened twice during my time in Millsaps, the difference was that I could go home the first time.” – Senior, on-campus

“I was a little confused as to why there wasn’t more done about the ice on the walkways. I saw a lot of people fall. You would think that at least one path across campus could have been salted or plowed. Also the food in the caf was some of the worst cafeteria food I’ve ever had, but I understand that there were a lot less caf employees present.” – Senior, on-campus

“Living at home made me feel guilty and very privileged to live so close to school yet still have water. The administration should know that over the last 3 weeks I have heard more talk about people transferring than ever before. Not as a result of the pandemic or water problems necessarily, but the overall experience of living in Jackson and having to constantly worry about the school’s financial situation. It seems as if students understand and are sympathetic to the college’s situation, however feel like they are making a sacrifice to stay here. Many students could have gone to a state school for a fraction of the cost they pay at Millsaps and would not have to worry about the school’s finances, losing our teachers, and being tremendously affected by problems outside of the school’s control. I love Millsaps, I always will love Millsaps, however, we need to remind people what makes Millsaps special as soon as COVID is done. People need to be able to interact with their professors, have meetings and parties, go to sporting events, and communicate with administrators more than ever before after COVID. The community and pursuit of a unique and excellent academic experience must be used to help increase student morale. I want nothing more than Millsaps to get back to 1,200 students and become what we all know it can be. I also realize this can not be just a faculty, staff, or administration endeavor. Students must contribute to promote the school and help “rebuild” after the water comes back on and COVID passes. I have heard so many people say “Millsaps probably won’t be here when my kids go to college” I doubt this is true, however, we need to fight to support our school and make sure we are part of the solution, not passive in watching the institution we all chose to suffer. Sorry, this probably didn’t answer the question, but hope it is helpful in some way.” – Junior, off-campus at home beginning February 12th

“My living situation changed tremendously. I had to use water bottles to bathe everyday and take care of daily hygiene in general. The only thing that bothered me was why was Millsaps administration was so eager to throw us back in the classroom knowing that water wasn’t completely back functioning (brown water).” – Sophomore, on-campus

“I completely don’t understand why there would be in person classes while the water conditions were still bad. I feel as if that made matters worse and made the conditions stay as they were for longer. Millsaps should’ve had online classes until they were completely sure the water was back to normal.” – Freshman, on-campus

“First, people like to give Millsaps a lot of the blame, but this water crisis is NOT their fault. The city of Jackson has major issues and sadly Millsaps falls victim to these issues as well. Jackson losing access to water and having boil water notices will keep happening. The school should be faster at responding to this. It happened my freshman year, and it will happen again. The hardest part was being allowed to go home and then being given a one day warning that we needed to be back on campus by Wednesday for covid testing for athletics. Protocol was that we needed to have a negative test a week before our game. Our game was the following Saturday. The earliest we needed to be back to campus was Friday to be tested. There was no need for us to be tested that Wednesday, and we just kept being told it was “protocol”. You know who makes protocol? People. The same people who should be able to assess the situation on campus and realize that dragging your athletes back to campus to get tested and practice without running water is cruel. After push back, the school finally relented and allowed our team to be tested the following Monday morning. However, I am still upset about administration/athletics management pitting our team loyalty against our need for water.” – Senior, on-campus

March 11th, 2021

“I was lucky during the water crisis, because I live off campus and never lost water pressure. That being said, I do know that the facilities team worked around the clock while being understaffed, and same with Student Life — I appreciate their efforts in trying to make everyone comfortable with very few available resources, and I think their efforts should be properly thanked. I also acknowledge the fact that the problems with the water pipes are a city, not a campus, issue. That being said, we all know that Jackson lacks a lot of reliable infrastructure. It should really be a priority for the college to improve campus’s infrastructure in order to make the campus a sustainable environment. We should explore options for a well or potable water outside of relying on Jackson, and have plans in place to communicate to students before potential problems, not in the midst of chaos. If Millsaps plans on continuing their emphasis on residential students over commuting students, they need to do what they can to make people feel like Millsaps can be a comfortable place. I hope Millsaps will invest resources into making Millsaps sustainable, reliable, and livable before they invest more resources into unnecessary endeavors, however exciting those can be. I don’t want to see any more of my favorite staff and faculty members leave or face reduced wages, and I want Millsaps to exist decades from now, but I think there are a lot of questions concerning how Millsaps is currently being run that simply can’t be explored from a student perspective.” – Senior, off-campus 

“I’m a sophomore currently living in Charles Hall. My overall experience wasn’t the worst, but it was because I found a way to leave campus when things got bad. Over the first three days, me and the rest of campus went without showers, lived off of five water bottles a day, and a cafeteria that served minuscule portions. Me and my friends ended up venturing off campus just to get food, even though we were told to try and not drive in the icy conditions. By the end of day three, I got word that students had begun to use garbage bags as toilets simply because they couldn’t use the bathroom in such circumstances. My dorm was sharing one bathroom on the first floor which needed a manual flush with a bucket of water, yet students simply started not to flush. I called my parents and quickly found a ride with a friend who was heading home the next day via train. I live 6 hours away and the roads were still too icy to drive, and I had already planned to fly home during our reading day the next week. I ended up making it home then, but the reading day had been used the week before. So I had to miss several classes in order to get home. Once I was home, I received an email the day before I left saying the conditions were improving and we should all be back at Millsaps for in-person classes that Monday. When I got back, hardly anything had changed and classes ended up being cancelled later in the week. I hardly get the chance to go home so I was considering staying until the Jackson conditions improved. But the school’s email failed to mention that not everything was fixed, causing me to fly back to terrible conditions. All because of a misleading email. I understand that the school was doing everything they could to help us students, and I am especially grateful to the maintenance and student life staff. But you simply cannot make students go to class and live on a campus without water.” – Sophomore, on-campus

March 12th, 2021

“It was hard for students as the college was making decisions that everything is accessible like moving off campus during the storm.” – Sophomore, on-campus 

“In terms of academics, our professors knowledge about the situation was either limited or was regarded as low concern. The assigning of papers, homework, and tests was negligent. I did not use the bathroom for over 24 hours, but I was expected to turn in an assignment. That is the most ridiculous position to put students in. I know the water situation was out of their control but to continue to assign work when the circumstances were in their control and they neglected to prioritize their students.” – Sophomore, on-campus

“Generally, my living situation did not change because I commute, but my meal experience was changed due to the lack of water. I also had a different experience with water in the bathrooms because the low water pressure meant many had to use the portable bathrooms.” – Freshman, off-campus