As the Editorial Board writes this on Wednesday, March 9, Broome County is in the middle of a winter storm warning lasting through 8 a.m. on Thursday. And yet, Binghamton University classes have remained in session.
Though the storm warning was not declared until around 12:30 p.m., upward of four inches of snow have accumulated since it began snowing early in the morning. This snow made BU’s parking situation — which is already quite lousy — even worse. This is especially true for M Lot, which is popular for commuters and higher up than lots in the Event Center or across from the University Union. Student drivers clearly struggled navigating the snow and slush today, with a multitude of car accidents occurring on or around campus. These accidents ranged in severity, from skidding or veering off-road into trees to multiple-car collisions and flipped cars. These accidents resulted in several calls to BU’s student-run ambulance service, Harpur’s Ferry. For any students who opted to take a bus, the Off Campus College Transport (OCCT) buses also ran significantly behind schedule today due to poor driving conditions.
As the snow continued to worsen throughout the day, students received no word from the University, continuing to go to class as scheduled. Similar to the roads, the University sidewalks were also not salted, or salted very poorly at best. Students who went through the trouble of actually getting to campus then had to walk around slippery sidewalks hoping not to fall. If the University was adamant on remaining open for the remainder of the day, the least it could have done is salted more of its own roads and sidewalks to avoid students potentially falling or getting hurt.
However, what these car accidents prove is that the University should definitely not have remained open at all. While it may not be optimal for administrators to cancel classes only three days before the start of spring break, the plethora of car accidents on Wednesday offer direct proof as to where the University’s priorities should have been. After all, the University has canceled classes due to weather more than once this year when necessary. For administration to prove themselves capable of caring before only to seemingly ignore the problem this week is, altogether, strange. Assuming the University may have been trying to wait it out, they could have at least canceled classes after a certain time. Say, 12:34 p.m. when the storm warning was issued. Once again, BU has done this several times. Today should not have been any different.
Though we cannot change how the University responded to the weather, we nevertheless express our discontent for their mishandling of this day. While some snow may not seem too concerning or unfamiliar for a town like Binghamton, today’s accidents prove that it is still dangerous. To assume that the snow can’t be too bad, that students must know how to drive in snow by now, or that continuing classes will be of no harm, has evidently put students in harm’s way. In the future, we advise the University to follow the tried-and-true saying: better to be safe than sorry.