By Amanda Alfanos, Web Editor
When Morgan McLaughlin was released last month to move back into her room in Oklahoma United Methodist Hall, she didn’t budge.
“I decided to stay in Cokesbury,” she said. “I just moved so many times.”
The acting senior is one of two students displaced by January and February floods in the dorm who permanently relocated to Cokesbury Court Apartments.
All residents were released to move back into their rooms Feb. 21 with the exception of Jonathan Triplett, director of intramural sports, who resides in a fourth-floor corner quad room, said Rick Hall, vice president for student affairs.
Triplett moved back into his room during the week of March 14, said John Riggs, dean of students.
The Jan. 11 flood affected residents of 24 rooms, while 18 rooms suffered damage in the flood on Feb. 2.
Though McLaughlin will be charged more for her new room, she said she doesn’t mind because her room was prorated during the time of her forced removal. She also was one of 16 students to receive compensation for property damage after applying for reimbursement through the student life office, Riggs said.
Refunds did not come straight from the university’s Benevolent Fund, he said.
The Benevolent Fund is an emergency account available to faculty, staff and students managed by university-church relations, according to Student Publications archives.
The money allotted to the students was pulled from the housing budget, Riggs said.
“It was about $4,400, which is not too bad,” he said. “We saw some requests over that.
“You wouldn’t believe the stuff people requested. There was some stuff brought to us that claimed to be damaged, but it wasn’t damaged. That’s unfortunate.”
McLaughlin said she was honest in her reimbursement request. She received the entire $150 she requested from administrators.
“I pretty much just lost some things in my bathroom and a small area in my kitchen,” she said. “It only hit select areas.
“It really was only a lot of little things.”
Officials worked with Campus Technology Services staff to determine damages of residents’ electronics, Riggs said.
Administrators also tried to conserve money by repairing some damaged items, rather than replacing them.
“For example, a student had a guitar that was damaged, but it was an electric guitar and we had it sent off to get fixed,” Riggs said. “We wanted to be smart with our money.”
Reimbursements of $300 or less were given to students in cash. Allotments greater than the amount were transferred into student accounts or directly deposited, Riggs said.
Riggs said he has yet to meet with Maggie Ball, vice president for university-church relations, to discuss monies set aside for flood reimbursements from the Benevolent Fund.
“They’ll just transfer the cost of whatever the Benevolent Fund can pay for,” he said.
Hall said officials have taken action to assure floods don’t happen again next winter.
“I’ve worked at OCU for 10 years and we’ve never had temperatures fall below freezing to my knowledge,” he said. “We obviously reviewed it closely with our insurance company.”