Not closing university dangerous for all



Column by Cami Stump

Picture this: John Wall slips in the snow and breaks his ankle.

While luckily — and I do mean luckily — this didn’t happen today, but realistically, the likelihood that someone on campus braved the blizzard to disastrous ends is quite high.

While many of us would value John Wall’s safety over that of the average student, it appears the university is even willing to risk the safety of their all-star by choosing not to cancel classes in adverse weather conditions.

Of course students are always looking for an excuse to get out of attending class, but most are enraged when a legitimate reason exists and isn’t granted.

Students this morning crossed their fingers as they checked UK’s Web site only to read that classes would be held as scheduled.

I was shocked when I looked back and forth from my computer screen to my window that showed evidence of many hours of consistent snowfall. I was dreading thinking about the trip I would have to make to attend all of my classes, and I’m sure many others did the same thing.

With a wind chill bringing the air temperature to as low as 1 degree Fahrenheit and snow reaching as much as 6 inches in some areas, it seems absurd to think UK would expect its students to endure this weather. But in a shock to everyone, UK’s reputation of taking nothing short of an ice storm to close was only reinforced.

UK’s officials really need to get privy to the fact that snow like we have gotten since Sunday evening really can make conditions dangerous. UK should follow the lead of other schools and businesses in the area and advise people to stay home.

According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the roads today yielded “the worst travel conditions of the year” which makes me so glad the university asked all of its staff and students to head out and come to class, regardless of the hazard the weather was presenting.

UK did not decide to cancel classes for the day, except for those after 5 p.m.

Unfortunately for most students though, this cancellation did little good as they trekked through the snow to get to their classes.

The safety of drivers (both students and faculty) is something the university needs to take more seriously in winter weather situations. When the roads are unplowed, it seems a little strange the university demand that everyone be forced to make their way to campus on the treacherous roads.

By 11 a.m., many streets were still unplowed, including Tates Creek Road and Man O’ War. Commuter students and faculty had it tough trying to get to campus alone, but once they reached campus, their troubles were far from over.

Students and staff were up to their ankles in snow and though most of the campus walkways were salted, the wind deposited fresh layers of snow every few minutes. For some reason, keeping the school open on a day like Monday seems like a safety hazard for more than one reason.

Students all over campus were stunned to find out that they would be forced to weather the elements.

And it’s no wonder since everyone but the university officials seemed to get the memo that it wasn’t in anyone’s best interest to be out and about in this winter weather.