Wednesday morning, Binghamton University students living off campus woke up to frantic news reports, snowed-in cars and the assumption that classes were canceled.
What they got instead was a giant middle finger from the University: Classes resume at 1:10 p.m.
We aren’t bitching about having an hour of class in the snow, and it’s far too early in the semester to worry about dodging exams and papers. This isn’t about enjoying a snow day; it’s about safety.
Our cars were snowed in. Our roads were un-driveable. Our commutes promised danger, as everyone we know Downtown had to push his or her car out of a snowbank just to get moving. One of our housemates suffered in particular when she collided with a Hummer while trying to get to class.
We saw Binghamton residents cross-country skiing down the sidewalks. Just the trek to the bus stop meant wading through waist-deep snow and ice. And while most of us trust Off Campus College Transport (OCCT) to get us to and from campus every day, with the roads this bad, we had to hesitate to use the service.
For some, though, student-driven buses were the only option for getting to campus — that, or suck it up and take an absence in only the second week of classes.
We reached out to the administration to learn the protocol for calling classes off in the face of inclement weather. Timing didn’t allow for us to get the full scope of answers, but what we do know is that these decisions vary on a case-by-case basis. What was it about this case that didn’t warrant a cancellation?
Some professors saw the necessity of the situation, opting to cancel their classes anyway. Basic services like Student Accounts, Financial Aid, Appalachian Dining Hall and the pre-law advising office closed their doors. The Job and Internship Fair was full-on canceled, with a day’s notice at that.
Classes should have been canceled — sometimes, it really is that simple.
According to the administration, “safety is the number one priority in making this decision.” We’re not asking for any changes; we are simply asking them to stick to that policy.
We aren’t lazy college students trying to get out of an hourlong class. We are residents of the city of Binghamton, and we did not feel safe getting to campus.