Updated: Jan. 27, 2011, 4:25 p.m.
With 15 inches of snow overnight and more than 90 cancellations due to severe weather in the Philadelphia region, Temple administrators gave the green light for university operations to continue as regularly scheduled today.
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Anthony Wagner said one of the main deciding factors in not administering a cancellation or delay was that the storm, nicknamed “Thundersnow,” had ceased at 1 a.m., allowing ample time for city and university workers to clear the streets and sidewalks.
“These are always tough decisions,” Wagner said, adding that the decision was made during a 5 a.m. conference call among administrators. “We have 13,000 students that live on or around campus. We need to have enough people [on Main Campus] to keep it running.”
“I have to admit that I was disappointed the streets weren’t in better shape when I came in,” Wagner added.
“It’s been university policy that the university tries to open under virtually any circumstance because we do have a lot of students who are right here, and [maintaining class attendance] is obviously a part of keeping them progressing academically through the semester properly,” Wagner said.
While some professors opted to cancel classes on a per-circumstance basis, many students still attended classes – yet some begrudgingly so.
Malcolm Kenyatta, a senior communications major and founder of the student-activist group Fired Up, started an iPetition via Facebook early Thursday morning with a goal to garner 5,000 signatures by Friday. As of 4:30 p.m. Thursday, the petition had garnered more than 1,800 signatures.
“We can’t necessarily decide when school is canceled and when it’s not,” Kenyatta said. “But students should have a say. A lot of people might think [the petition] is us griping about not having a snow day, but it’s not. This is about safety.”
Robert Ferry, a sophomore business management major, said dealing with extreme weather is “all about being prepared.”
“I live in Center City and had class at 9:30 [a.m.], but I just have to jump on the subway and I’m [on Main Campus] – it wasn’t really a problem,” Ferry said.
Still, some, such as senior criminal justice and Spanish major Maria Cruz, said Main Campus’ slippery conditions were “treacherous.”
“As soon as I opened my door, I couldn’t even believe the amounts of snow piled up on the street,” said Cruz, who lives in University Village.
Wagner said administrators keep an eye on what decisions other local entities are making in terms of cancellations, in addition to keeping in contact with representatives from the City of Philadelphia, SEPTA and other local colleges and universities.
“When it’s all said and done, it’s a judgment call,” Wagner said. “We’ve gotten some concerns about the decision today, and that’s something we’ll take into consideration as we deal with similar circumstances in the future.”
Maria Zankey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.