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  • Hanna Aggen

Spring Semester Starts with Snow Day Disaster

Hanna Aggen


A great beginning to this semester was welcomed with a snow storm leading to dangerous conditions and class cancellations. With this, the University has not come up with a sustainable solution as to how we handle it.


On Jan. 16 our campus closed due to a snow storm covering the campus in up to five inches of snow. Due to this, all classes were made virtual. As it continued to snow classes were still in session. Students were expected to attend classes, commuters were expected to drive, along with professors.


No faculty or students were notified of the campus being closed, nor a change in classes. Many faculty took it upon themselves to cancel classes or go virtual. That still left students and faculty driving to campus in the harsh conditions.

Students were confused and, in some cases, very unhappy with this string of events. Many students had no idea whether they would be having class. As late as ten minutes before class started, they would be canceled.


An anonymous student said, “The Mount should be more on top of things when it comes to communication with professors as well as handling the snow in general.” Staff and faculty were not much happier. They did not receive any more guidance than the students did regarding cancellations. The decision and responsibility to cancel classes was put entirely on professors.


This decision, or lack of one, also affected the student-athlete population. In some cases, athletes were told that practice would only be canceled if classes were. This means that practices were not canceled, and student-athletes were expected to drive or walk to the ARCC.


After talking to several of these students about the dangerous weather conditions around camps, many felt unsafe attending practice. Araceli Skiles (C’27) was driving to her swim practice on Friday morning when she and four other teammates slid on ice and were forced to turn around due to the road conditions. The students who drove from the ARCC back to their dorms had no option other than to walk back home after practice. Due to avoiding the risk of driving.


Commuter students on the other hand did not have that luxury. One student, Seth Garbanzos (C’25) said, “South Seton Avenue was just like horrible to drive on. I could barely see anything that morning.” He is not the only commuter who was impacted by this storm.


Around campus there continued to be issues with parking, ice, and snow on walkways. Lots that are specifically for first year and sophomore lots had been left uncleared. Ramps leading up to parking lots were sheer in ice. Some students believe Mount needs to be more prepared in aspects of scheduling to salt and clear walkways.

 

SGA proposed a bill to make changed regarding the efforts put into preparing for severe weather conditions. Bill 24-23-12, written by Senator Kennedy Tyme, suggests that our campus should close when Frederick County Public Schools declares closure.


Tyme makes the point that many professors have children in FCPS. School closures make it harder for those with children. Mount closing at the same time as FCPS would be a solution to this issue. I spoke to many students regarding this bill and the ideas it proposes and got an overwhelming amount of agreement and positive feedback. Our student population is hardly wanting more than communication and a clear plan.


 Our faculty and staff are asking for the same thing. Another anonymous student stated, “It is nothing if not inconsistent.” With the weather here already being erratic, it is crucial that the University has plans in action so that the students and faculty can continue to be successful.


Kelly Blanco

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