University does right by closing

The routine of a typical Friday was disrupted last week when the University made this announcement on its Web site:
“Please be advised:
Due to severe weather conditions, all campuses of St. John’s University are closed today-Friday, March 16, 2007.”
But what did many SJU students see outside their windows that morning? Nothing, other than an overcast sky and damp streets.

And these are supposed to be “severe weather conditions”? It hardly seemed justifiable for St. John’s to close.

At that time, some students asked themselves why St. John’s would close for the whole day when there was not a drop of precipitation on the ground. The last time there was a major winter storm, the University remained open until 2:30 p.m.
Was the University overreacting? Was this being done in an attempt not to be criticized once again? Or, did the University feel the need to be generous to the students and faculty by giving everyone a three-day weekend?

No matter how much some students may complain, the fact of the matter is that the University made the right choice by closing and saved many students and faculty the hardship of attempting to commute home when nearly every road and sidewalk had become a sheet of ice.

Sure there was no severe weather in the morning, but by the afternoon it was a total mess. Had the University decided to keep school open, many students would have had to travel through slippery roads, sidewalks, and corridors throughout campus. Some unfortunately slipped and fell during the last storm and suffered injuries. It could have been worse, had the University decided to remain open.

There would have been accidents in the parking lots as cars would have become more difficult to drive because of slippery roads. Major roads and highways would have been dangerous to drive through because of the accumulating ice and slush that seemed to come back every time it had been cleared away.

Would the students have complained had the school remained open? Absolutely, and rightfully so. It would have been unreasonable to make students come to school when the routine drive or walk became all the more dangerous as the result of ice and sleet made travel treacherous.

Plus, the University would have received more criticism for making the wrong decision.

Of course there may have been many inconveniences caused by the closing. For many commuter students who spent 20, 30, or even 40 minutes traveling to school only to turn around and go home, their commuting time will not be reimbursed by the University. Students relying on mass transit are not going to get their $2 or $4 back on their MetroCards or the money spent on fares and tolls. The students who had appointments with deans and advisors that day are going to have to reschedule another appointment for another day.

Despite these inconveniences caused by the University’s closing, students should still be happy with the decision St. John’s made – at least they did not have to walk through a mound of ice and snow.