The university should use last Thursday’s snowfall as a lesson.
As 15.1 inches of snow blanketed Philadelphia Thursday, students were forced to squirm out from underneath their blankets to trudge to class, as the university remained open.
For the 18 percent who live in college-owned, -operated or -affiliated housing, getting to class was easier, but not necessarily safer.
Though sidewalks were cleared more thoroughly as the day progressed, the pedestrian cross walks, such as the roads, remained covered in snow, ice and slush. More than a few students slid to the ground, so much so that a commenter on The Temple News’ website said it reduced her to tears. It is hard to imagine how any student using a wheelchair or crutches could successfully navigate through Main Campus.
Although the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University also held classes, The Temple News urges the administration to draw conclusions from the makeup of its own student body rather than taking cues from other campuses. Ultimately, the negativity surrounding the university’s decision stems from the fact that approximately 82 percent of undergraduates live off campus or commute, according to 2010 data.
Temple – which up until the late 1990s and early 2000s was primarily a commuter school – is easily accessible by way of public transportation and automobiles.
But with more than three dozen motor-vehicle accidents reported Thursday by the Philadelphia Inquirer and severe weather forcing SEPTA to cancel and delay bus and train lines, it was apparent students, professors, faculty members and administrators were going to have difficulty getting anywhere but back to their beds.
Some professors, aware their students were commuters, remained hesitant to cancel earlier scheduled classes because commuter students often leave their homes hours before a class. Professors held class in accordance with university policy, but many were canceled.
The university forced professors to make their own personal decisions regarding university policy, which they are instructed to adhere to. Administrators came off looking out of touch with their campus, regardless of their intentions to offer students what they come to college for: an education.
With snow swirling around weather reports as the winter progresses, The Temple News urges the administration to take lessons from its “Thundersnow” decision. We may be students, but it’s clear we’re not the only ones who are still learning.
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