In the aftermath of the fourth-largest snowstorm in Philadelphia’s history, students who traveled to Main Campus Monday told The Temple News their opinions of the university’s decision to hold classes as scheduled.
Before those interviews, Temple tweeted Sunday afternoon that classes would be held as scheduled. Several students responded by criticizing the announcement, citing unpaved roads and sidewalks and overall safety hazards of commuting.
A university spokesman provided a statement to The Temple News regarding the university’s decision to open Monday.
“Temple’s operations team worked tirelessly during the weekend to ensure the university could open, and classes could be held, as scheduled Monday,” the statement read. “We arrived at this decision by monitoring the progress being made to clear our campuses and by contacting outside agencies, including SEPTA, to get updates on their plans and schedules. While we understand commuting after the snow storm can pose challenges, we felt that Temple could resume normal operations. We do everything we can to open and provide the educational opportunities our students are here for.”
One student who disagreed with the university’s decision was Nicole Jackson, a senior horticulture student.
“For them to not give us a delay, or a day off is absolutely unacceptable when there is 20 inches to 30 inches in some areas,” she said in an email. “I missed my morning class and quiz due to my one-way street being blocked with snow, broken down cars, and idiots who just wanted to park in the middle of the road.”
But several other students interviewed yesterday said while they disagreed with the university’s decision, they understood why it was made.
Jonathan Eskow, a senior computer engineering major, said he lives in South Philadelphia near 22nd Street and Snyder Avenue. He added that his street still hadn’t been plowed by Monday morning.
“I see why [the city] would focus on major throughways,” he said. “In general, I think Philly focuses on Center City and throughways while leaving the surrounding neighborhoods unkempt.”
Another section of the city that contained many unpaved streets was Northeast Philadelphia. Candice Barnhill, a senior kinesiology major, said she usually takes a SEPTA bus from Frankford Transportation Center to 33rd Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue, but it was suspended Monday morning. In order to come to campus, she had to take the Market-Frankford Line to City Hall, and then take the Broad Street Line to Main Campus.
“I didn’t think [the university] would cancel,” she said of the decision. “But they’re out there still working, while we’re trying to get to class.
A few students commuting outside of the city said there were delays on SEPTA trains, but added it was manageable.
Dan Lapsley, a sophomore math and physics major and Warminster native, said there was a 15-minute delay on his commute.
“It’s kind of two-sided,” he said in the commuter lounge Monday. “Now that I’m here, I’m fine. … I don’t know how safe it is if you’re driving or taking a [train] line that’s not reliable.”
One student, Emily Vanmatre, said classes should have been delayed. She said her shuttle from Ambler to Main Campus usually takes 50 minutes—on Monday, it took 80.
“It’s really slippery, and I don’t think [the university] should have opened on time,” she said.
Steve Bohnel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Steve_Bohnel.