When in Doubt, Listen to the Forecast
March 9, 2018
This past Wednesday was not a good day for NYU. On top of the brutal snowstorm, thousands of NYU students descended from their residencies, faced the harsh streets of New York City and made it to their classes — only to find out that everything after 2:30 p.m. was effectively cancelled. Facing the same weather, they had to travel back home again. The late-in-the-game decision by NYU Public Safety to cancel class had NYU students trekking through the slippery roads of New York without measures in place to keep anyone safe. What is the point of issuing safety warnings if they come in late and fail to protect anyone from the weather?
While many snow storms have struck the city since the beginning of 2018, this was the first one to interrupt NYU from functioning — some of the more severe snow storms in the city took place over winter break, when most students were away from the city. For many first-year students, this snowstorm is the first one they experienced. They had to face the conditions in order to make it to campus and back to their homes after the warning was issued to dismiss classes and non-essential staff.
A significant number of schools in the area did close while NYU remained open and put students in harm’s way. While many other schools deemed the situation serious enough to stop a day of classes, NYU failed to recognize such seriousness and believed that students had the supernatural power to make trip to school, even under government-advised severe weather warning.
Any public transportation closure or snow accumulation can potentially delay an NYU student’s commute, and if school is not cancelled despite all of these troubles, it becomes frustrating for the student to make it on time. NYU’s decision to remain open is particularly burdensome to commuters from New Jersey or other boroughs, as transit often slows during severe weather. It also becomes frustrating for the faculty when class attendance suffers as a result.
As an institution with a significant amount of commuter students, NYU needs to be more proactive when faced with snow storms that can be extremely dangerous. Alerts as abrupt as the one seen this past Wednesday are not only counterproductive but also fuel students’ dissatisfaction in a mishandling of a mistake that should not have happened in the first place.
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Email Wayne Chen at [email protected].